Ireland's biggest hotel chain, Dalata Hotels, is expected to run the rule over the five-star Lyrath Estate Hotel in Co Kilkenny, which was put up for sale this week with an asking price of €20 million.
Dalata owns or manages about 35 hotels on the island of Ireland but does not have a presence in Kilkenny, where it would be interested in adding a hotel.
Following a fundraising last year, the company has about €130 million left to spend and is thought to be focusing its efforts on locations outside Dublin, where it now accounts for about 48 per cent of hotel stock.
Most of this funding has already been earmarked but the company would have the capacity to bid for Lyrath.
Dalata has been hugely acquisitive since floating on the stock market in early 2014, raising €265 million in equity. Yesterday, it closed the purchase of the four-star
Hotel in Sligo for €13.1 million in cash.
In total, it has committed €78.2 million since the end of December on six hotels and one Dublin city centre development site.
Lyrath was developed in 2006 and is a popular popular wedding and conference venue. Situated on about 170 acres, it is close to Kilkenny City and has 139 bedrooms and suites and a spa and leisure facilities.
It is being sold by CBRE, which said it had “ substantial forward business on the books for both 2016 and 2017” and was “very profitable”.
Lyrath is believed to have achieved an Ebitda of just under €2 million on revenues of just more than €10 million in 2015. The sale includes a two-bedroom gate lodge and a modern stable building.
Other potential suitors include wealthy Irish-American businessman John Malone, who already owns a number of hotels assets in Ireland, and Adrian Shanagher, who heads Firebreak Hospitality Management.