Hastings Hotels Group records pre-tax loss of €19.25m as pandemic takes toll

Loss follows a pre-tax profit of £5.8m in 2019

 

The co-owner of the five-star Merrion hotel in Dublin recorded pre-tax losses of £16.55 million (€19.25m) last year as the impact of Covid-19 took its toll on the hospitality sector.

New accounts for the Northern Ireland-based Hastings Hotels Group showed revenues almost halved at the group from £49.37 million to £25.12 million in the 12 months to the end of October last.

The loss includes an exceptional cost of £5.27 million concerning the non-cash write down of assets.

The group’s hotels include the Europa Hotel, the Grand Central hotel and the Culloden Estate and Spa in Belfast.

The pre-tax loss of £16.55 million followed a pre-tax profit of £5.8 million in 2019 – a negative swing of £22.3 million.

The accounts show the group received “other operating income” of £3.34 million through the UK’s coronavirus job retention scheme.

The group’s pre-tax loss includes a £1.17 million loss on its joint venture – the group has a 50 per cent share in the Merrion hotel in Dublin, with businessmen Lochlainn Quinn and Martin Naughton sharing the other 50 per cent share.

The Hastings Hotel Group directors say they are looking forward to reopening their hotels on May 24th in Northern Ireland after being shut since last October, apart from a two-week period in December.

The directors anticipate further continued disruption to travel in the months ahead “and forward visibility on the timing and shape of improvements in demand remains limited”.

The group continues to take advantage of all the government schemes that have been made available to support the hospitality industry.

T he group’s main lender, Bank of Ireland, provided an additional £10 million loan, half of which comes from the UK’s coronavirus business interruption loan scheme and this is due for renewal in September.

Numbers employed by the group last year reduced from 1,385 to 1,161, and staff costs reduced from £17.22 million to £14.35 million.

The pre-tax loss takes account of interest payments of £1.39 million and non-cash depreciation costs of £5.85 million

Dividends

The group last year paid out dividends of £298,935 and this followed a dividend payout of £1.75 million in 2019.

Directors’ pay last year increased marginally from £1.18 million to £1.26 million made up of £1.09 million in pay and £168,595 in pension contributions.

The highest paid director received pay of £220,718 that includes pension payments of £52,630

The group’s bank loans and overdrafts totalled £47.64 million.

At the end of October last, the group had accumulated profits of £31 million. Shareholder funds amounted to £33.38 million. The group’s cash funds halved  from £5.18 million to £2.57 million.