Michael Smurfit offers K Club for sale at €80m

550-acre property includes hotel and championship golf course

Located in Staffan, Co Kildare, the K Club has a 134-bedroom hotel and two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by major-winning US professional, Arnold Palmer.

Located in Staffan, Co Kildare, the K Club has a 134-bedroom hotel and two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by major-winning US professional, Arnold Palmer.

 

Businessman Michael Smurfit is putting the K-Club golf resort and hotel up for sale for €80 million.

Mr Smurfit and the K Club are fighting a high-profile law suit with the resort’s one-time catering manager, Peter Curran, at which the property’s owner may have to give evidence in the autumn.

The K Club confirmed on Thursday that Mr Smurfit has put it on the market with a guide price of €80 million and instructed real estate specialists, Savills Hotels & Leisure, to manage the sale.

Agreements

According to a statement, Mr Smurfit is selling the property freehold, with no ties to management or brand agreements.

Located in Staffan, Co Kildare, the K Club has a 134-bedroom hotel and two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by major-winning US professional, Arnold Palmer.

The courses hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup , the biennial clash between the US and Europe, as well as Irish and European opens.

Along with golf, the 550-acre estate offers guests horse riding, fishing, clay pigeon shooting and other activities.

Hugh Barton, of the Barton and Guestier wine family built the estate in 1832 and modelled the house on a French chateau.

Following a succession of owners, Jefferson Smurfit, the packaging maker headed by Mr Smurfit, bought it in 1988 and converted it to a hotel and golf course in 1991.

Mr Smurfit and property developer Gerry Gannon bought the K Club from Jefferson Smurfit in 2005, when investor Madison Dearborn took over the manufacturer.

In 2012, Mr Smurfit purchased Mr Gannon’s 49 per cent stake in the business for a reported €40 million.

The K Club was in the news recently when Mr Curran began a High Court action claiming that he was threatened over allegations he made in a previous case against the business regarding call girls’ use of the property.

Case

The court excused Mr Smurfit from giving evidence in the case last week as he was recovering from a hip replacement operation in hospital in Monaco, where he now lives. There is a possibility that he may have to appear in October.

Tom Barrett, director of hotels and leisure with Savills Ireland, described the K Club as one of the leading resorts of its kind in the world. “As a freehold property, unencumbered by brand or management agreement, it offers vast potential for the next owner,” he said.

The Republic’s hotels are performing well, according to Savills. Room rates rose 13 per cent in the first half of this year. The sector is attracting tourists and business travellers from both Ireland and abroad.

Dublin Airport, the State’s biggest tourist entry point, had its busiest month ever in June, and expects passenger numbers to pass 30 million this year.