Dublin’s five-star Merrion outperforms owners’ other hotels

NI-based Hastings Hotels Group, which co-own Merrion, report decline in profits

The hotel group that co-owns the luxury five-star Merrion hotel in Dublin last year sustained an 18 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £2 million (€2.43 million).

The decline in profits at the Northern Ireland-based Hastings Hotels Group came in spite of the group increasing its revenues by 4 per cent from £37.59 million to £39.2 million in the 12 months to the end of October 31st last .

The figures show that the Merrion hotel outperformed the group last year with the group’s joint venture share of the Merrion’s operating profit increasing marginally from £537,304 to £555,170.

The group owns 50 per cent of the Merrion hotel and the group's revenues from its Merrion Hotel interest last year increased by 8.5 per cent from £6.62 million to £7.19 million.

During 2013, superstars, Rihanna, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Buble were three of the many celebrities to boost the coffers of the hotel that last month secured planning permission from An Bord Pleanala for a major extension.

The multi-award winning hotel comprises of 123 rooms and 19 suites and guests can pay €199 for a standard room to €3,200 for the penthouse suite and the hotel offers various deals on its advertised rates.

The group owns its share of the Merrion hotel through its 50per cent shareholding in Landmark Investment Co Ltd.

The remaining 50 per cent of the ownership in the Merrion is owned by businessmen and ESB chairman, Lochlann Quinn and billionaire, Martin Naughton, who owns appliance firm, Glen Dimplex.

The Hastings Group portfolio of hotels includes the landmark Europa hotel in Belfast and the luxury Culloden Hotel on the outskirts of Belfast.

According to the directors’ report “the directors consider that the out-turn for the year is satisfactory given difficult economic conditions which created a difficult trading environment throughout the financial year and they are satisfied with the progress that has been made during the year.”

The directors state that the external commercial environment is expected to remain competitive in 2014.

The group’s increase in revenues last year followed a return to growth in 2012 which came after two years of a decline in sales when revenues declined by 6.5 per cent in 2011 and 7.3 per cent in 2010.

The group paid an interim dividend last year of £386,453 following a dividend pay out of £368,053 in 2012.

The figures show that the group’s operating profit last year declined by 18 per cent from £2.71 million to £2.2 million.

The group paid net interest charges last year of £728,510.

The group’s accumulated profits last year totalled £32 million with its cash declining from £5.2 million to £4.5 million.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of £3 million.

The numbers employed by the group last year increased marginally from 1,070 to 1,100 with staff costs increasing from £10.8 million to £11 million.

The group’s staff is made up of 502 full time and 598 part-time.

Emoluments to directors last year increased from £971,425 to £1.04 million with the highest paid director in receipt of £177,480.