London and Dubai on list of possibilities for owner-operator Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels is examining a number of overseas investment proposals, with London and Dubai on its radar, according to a senior official. Chief executive Clement Kwok King-man yesterday said that interested parties knocked on the hotelier's door calling for investments of its flagship Peninsula hotels in key world cities. Although the group did not have a strong desire to aggressively expand its eight-strong portfolio, which comprises seven Peninsula hotels and one resort, he said the group's approach in expansion and development contrasted to the strategies of rivals. Unlike Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula would play a combined role of owner and operator and aim to keep a small number of quality hotel assets on its plate, he said. 'It is no secret that we want to be in London. It all depends on the right deal and right location. The property prices in London are very expensive, and we are not going there on a suicide mission,' Mr Kwok said. 'Although we are not in any serious negotiations or announcing imminently any new projects, we are conducting research on new properties in some overseas cities,' he said, adding Dubai was among the possibilities. He declined to elaborate. Illustrating its expansion strategies, Mr Kwok said Peninsula was focusing on two greenfield projects, a $845 million hotel in Tokyo and a $2.8 billion hotel in Shanghai. The Tokyo project is in the city's prime business district, Maranouchi, next to the Imperial Palace, while the Shanghai project occupies the former British consulate on the Bund. 'Four Seasons is growing a lot faster than us as my understanding is they expand through management contracts. Our approach is different, we open far fewer hotels, but invest and build our assets for the future,' Mr Kwok said. 'We try to build a portfolio with longevity, with a smaller number of jewels in the crown.' Playing an investor role means higher investment costs and risks, with the Peninsula relying mainly on debt financing for new projects. On Monday, the group sealed a bank loan of 14.2 billion yen ($859 million) to fund the Tokyo project, due for completion in 2007. Mr Kwok said the group was contemplating financing for the Shanghai project, which could be in yuan, Hong Kong dollars or US dollars. Playing down a potential rise in borrowing costs as a result of higher interest rates, Mr Kwok said: 'The key is the structure and way of financing. It is not necessary that the longer we wait, the higher the interest rate will be.' He added that the group's gearing ratio stood at a healthy 13 per cent, taking into the account the proceeds from the $1.93 billion sale of the Kowloon Hotel.