The Tifco Hotel Group, which is to provide hotels for the State's Covid quarantine scheme, is owned by a US alternative investment firm that bought the Irish business in October 2018 for €294.8 million, company filings indicate.
Tifco owns or manages 24 hotels and 2,250 hotel rooms, and is the State’s second largest hotel operator after the publicly-listed Dalata Hotel Group.
Among its hotels are the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express near Dublin Airport, and Travelodge hotels beside Dublin and Cork airports.
Tifco began with the Clontarf Castle hotel in 1973, and grew over the years to include the Crowne Plaza hotels in Dublin Airport, Dundalk and Blanchardstown, the Hilton in Kilmainham, Dublin, the Parliament and Hard Rock hotels, also in Dublin, and the Travelodge group.
The group also manages a number of hotels including Hotel Killarney, Innisfallen Hotel, and Kinsale Hotel and Spa.
Originally owned by businessmen Aidan Crowe and DID Electrical founder Gerry Houlihan, it came under the control of the State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) after the economic crash by way of debts due to Anglo Irish Bank.
In 2014 control of the hotel chain was sold by the IBRC to Goldman Sachs, which four years later sold it to the US private equity firm Apollo Global Management.
Apollo is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange and manages assets worth approximately $445 billion (€372bn).
The accounts for the hotel group show it now involves holding companies and funds based in Dublin, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands, with an entity in Delaware in the US being the ultimate owner.
The filed accounts show substantial financial dealings involving more than €100 million between entities in Dublin and Luxembourg, one of which is owned in turn by funds in the Cayman Islands.
Tifco's managing director and group finance director, Enda O'Meara and Brian Campion, have an interest in the group, the corporate filings show.
In financial accounts for the two months of November and December 2018, the group’s then new Irish holding company, Trident Super Topco Number 1 DAC, reported group turnover of €10 million, and administrative expenses of €16 million, with an overall loss for the period of €9.5 million.
The accounts for the company, which is owned by Apollo EPF III Capital Management LLC, of Delaware, were signed in July of last year.
They noted that the global financial markets had experienced significant volatility since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the effect on the hotel industry in Ireland had been to effectively close it in the second and third quarters of 2020.
Accounts signed in October 2020 by group company Tifco Ltd noted that while the hotels had by then reopened, occupancy was low.
“The outlook for the future remains uncertain, and in particular when business and leisure travel will return to historic levels,” the directors said in their report.