Merrion Hotel owner reports profits of £4.9m

Turnover at Hastings Hotels Group continues to improve despite Brexit headwinds

The Merrion Hotel in Dublin in which the Hastings Hotels Group holds a 50 per cent stake. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The Merrion Hotel in Dublin in which the Hastings Hotels Group holds a 50 per cent stake. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Profits at Northern Ireland’s largest privately owned hotel chain, Hastings Hotels Group, are up 21 per cent. Recently filed accounts show an increase in pre-tax profit to £4.9 million (€5.5 million). In the twelve months to the end of October 2016 turnover at the family owned chain also improved by 4 per cent to £36.7 million.

The group currently owns six luxury hotels across Northern Ireland including the five-star Culloden estate, in which it recently completed a €5 million investment. Construction is underway on the company’s recently acquired Grand Central Hotel and is due to be completed in 2018 when an extra 104 rooms will be added to the building.

Hastings, a 50 per cent owner of Dublin’s Merrion Hotel, had net assets of £40.57 million in the last financial year, up from £34.8 million the previous year.

Its latest accounts show that the group had bank loans and overdrafts in excess of £14.8 million in 2016, a drop of 5.7 per cent on the previous year.

In 2016, the company employed 1,138 people per month on average. Staff costs for the period were £12.2 million. Directors, meanwhile, were remunerated £1.2 million in the twelve months to the end of 2016 with the highest paid director receiving remuneration of £202,600.

The directors of the company wrote that they considered the outturn for the year “to be satisfactory”, but noted that management of the group and the execution of the group’s strategy were “subject to a number of risks”.

Some of those risks cited by the directors include competition from other hotel groups and employee retention. According to the report, “these risks are addressed through strong customer service as well as investment in its people and facilities.”

As for Brexit, the group didn’t give it specific mention in this report but noted the company’s exposure to some foreign exchange risk, “principally on its investment in its joint venture interest which is in Euros.” However, the company’s outlook for the coming year is upbeat: “the external commercial environment is expected to remain competitive in 2017,” the directors wrote in the annual report.

Founded in the mid-1960s by Sir William Hastings, the group will have over 1,000 hotel bedrooms in Northern Ireland when the Grand Central.