Dalata shareholders approve €455m hotels transaction

Deal doesn’t include Moran’s landmark Red Cow hotel in west Dublin

John Hennessy (standing) with from left; Dermot Crowley, Margaret Sweeney, Sean McKeon, Pat McCann, Robert Dix and Alf Smiddy at the Dalata Hotel Group meeting. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

John Hennessy (standing) with from left; Dermot Crowley, Margaret Sweeney, Sean McKeon, Pat McCann, Robert Dix and Alf Smiddy at the Dalata Hotel Group meeting. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 
Dalata

said it may buy about 10 more hotels in Ireland, after its shareholders yesterday rubber-stamped its proposed €455 million takeover of nine British and Irish hotels from the Moran Bewley group.

After a shareholders’ meeting regarding the deal, Mr McCann said Dalata “may end up owning about 20” hotels in the Irish market. Dalata now owns 11 Irish properties and 16 in total.

“We are never going to stop looking at buying opportunities,” said Mr McCann.

“There will be more hotels on the market this year, such as the ones in Nama’s Project Crystal. There are still a number of opportunities for us [in Ireland] before we focus elsewhere.”

Project Crystal contains about eight hotels, including Fels Point in Kerry and Clonmel Park in Tipperary, both of which are operated by Dalata on behalf of receivers. It also includes the Osprey in Naas and Johnstown House in Meath.

Nama said it would bring more hotels to the market “in coming weeks”.

The Moran Bewley’s deal, which does not include the landmark Red Cow Moran hotel in west Dublin, remains subject to clearance from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The CCPC is expected to announce by the end of this month whether it will approve the deal, or order a more detailed review.

Dalata, which operates the Maldron brand, will issue 18.3 million new shares at €2.75 each to part-finance the purchase.

At yesterday’s extraordinary general meeting to approve the transaction, a shareholder inquired about the possibility of a rights issue instead of a placing so that small shareholders might be included.

John Hennessy, the company’s chairman, replied that it would have taken too long to implement. “But I wouldn’t rule out a rights issue in the future,” he said.

Dalata currently owns or operates 38 hotels in Ireland and Britain, with about 6,000 rooms.

The Moran deal, which includes Bewley’s hotels in Ballsbridge, Dublin Airport, Leopardstown and Newlands Cross, as well as the Silver Springs in Cork, will add a further 2,500 rooms to its portfolio.