InterContinental Hotels Group, the owner of the Express by Holiday Inn brand, has signed a 20-hotel franchise agreement with the British investment group Zinnia Hotels Properties Holdings.

The 20 hotels will be transfered to the Express by Holiday Inn brand over the next five years, with an anticipated approximate total investment of 180 million by the group, effectively doubling InterContinental’s the number of Express by Holiday Inn branded hotels in Spain.

Kirk Kinsell, IHG’s president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “Express by Holiday Inn has proved a very strong performing brand since its 1991 launch, becoming the fastest growing hotel chain in history, and the re-launch will allow owners to generate an enhanced return on their investment.

“We are opening on average one hotel a day and signing two and have a healthy development pipeline in Spain,” said Kinsell.

IHG’s portfolio within Spain currently includes 15 Express by Holiday Inn hotels, including a new property at Madrid Airport which was unveiled in September 2007.