Russia's richest woman Yelena Baturina looks set to get a little bit richer thanks to her well-timed investment in Dublin's luxury Morrison Hotel.
Having acquired the four-star property from Nama for €22 million in 2012, the savvy oligarch is understood to have instructed CBRE’s hotel division to offer it for sale in the coming weeks at a guide price of between €80 million and €85 million.
While Ms Baturina is believed to have spent up to €10 million on a refurbishment of the hotel overseen by NODA Architects between 2012 and 2013, a sale at those levels would see Austrian company Inteco Beteilgungs secure a gross uplift of up to €53 million – or 165 per cent – on its original investment. CBRE declined to comment on the matter when contacted by The Irish Times.
Developed originally in 1996 by the late publican Hugh O’Regan, the Morrison Hotel occupies a prime city centre location overlooking the river Liffey, within walking distance of Temple Bar, the shopping areas of Henry Street and Grafton Street, and the IFSC.
Designed originally by Douglas Wallace Architects, the boutique property comprises 145 guest rooms and suites, seven meeting and events facilities capable of accommodating up to 240 guests, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness centre.
The Morrison's accommodation is complemented by a range of bar and restaurant facilities, including Halo Restaurant, Quay 14 Bar and the Morrison Grill. The hotel trades under the Hilton Worldwide group's "DoubleTree" brand.
The sale of the Morrison is expected to attract significant interest from a range of international hotel operators and investors. News of the property’s impending disposal comes off the back of several major transactions at the upper end of the Dublin hotel market in 2019.
Included in these major deals were the € 134 million sale of the Marker (which will be rebranded as Ananatara) to German investor Deka Immobolien; the €116 million sale of the Conrad Dublin to Archer Hotel Capital; the €50 million sale of Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links to Canadian-headquartered Northland Properties; and the €40 million sale of the Central Hotel to Deutsche Finance International.
While the average price across all Dublin hotel deals last year was €400,000 per room or “per key”, the sale of the Marker set a new record of €700,000 per key. Should the Morrison secure the €85 million guide price being mooted in advance of its sale, that would represent an impressive €586,206 per key.
The Morrison Hotel has certainly prospered under Ms Baturina’s ownership. According to its latest accounts filed last December, the hotel increased its annual profits by almost 49 per cent to above €2.75 million.
Sales at the hotel rose by 6 per cent in 2018 to € 14.16 million, with the jump in bottom-line profits enabled by stringent cost control as well as a cessation in the extraction of dividends from the hotel.
In the three years prior to 2018, Ms Baturina’s companies had taken dividends from the Morrison totalling € 2.5 million. The hotel retained a cash pile of almost € 4 million, and has accumulated profits under Ms Baturina’s ownership of €5.1 million.
A one-time construction magnate in Russia, Ms Baturina was married to the late Yury Luzkhkov, who was the mayor of Moscow for many years until 2010.
Her other assets include European renewable energy facilities, as well as hotels in Russia and Austria. According to Forbes she is worth $1.2 billion (€1.08bn).