Regal Hotels International Holdings says it is considering selling some of its 28 commercial properties in the United States, including some landmark hotels, to fund further Asian expansion. However, analysts said the company might use the proceeds from any sale to reduce gearing or perhaps to fund projects such as its new airport hotel. Regal's chairman and managing director, Lo Yuk-sui, made no mention of raising money to fund Hong Kong projects at a special meeting held yesterday and denied the company's gearing was a problem. He said developing an overall strategy for his US properties was the aim of the exercise and not to reduce gearing. 'We are now studying a number of proposals which include listing these properties or selling off some of them and investing the money in Asia,' he said. With property values booming in the United States, the company would be foolish not to cash in some of its assets, Mr Lo said. 'The [US] property values are getting higher and higher,' he said. 'There are lots of buyers chasing after properties. 'There is a temptation to take the profit and swap into some higher yield properties if possible,' he said. Depending upon location, property values in New York City, for instance, had increased by anywhere from 25 to 75 per cent in the past year or so, according to a local analyst. While values for hotel properties have not risen as steeply, it was still possible to make a substantial profit from the sale of a hotel, analysts said. 'Hotels are great investments,' Worldsec International hotel analyst Noriko Honda said. 'It's not such a bad time to be selling if you're hurting for cash.' Mr Lo said that selling off assets was just one of a number of options the company was considering to raise cash to fund expansion. He also mentioned - once again - the idea of bundling all of Regal's hotel and commercial properties into a separate listing in the United States. Analysts said that while the idea was not new it would increase Regal's reputation in the US where it was more widely known under the Comfort Inn and Quality Inn logos. 'The listing would provide a higher profile for US investors and help in raising money,' Ms Honda said. Mr Lo said it was conceivable the company might merge some of its hotel operations with other companies. 'There are many options at our disposal,' he said.