Belfast Telegraph

Andras House: A mixed bag for property group

By John Simpson

The Andras House group brings together both a property company and a group of hotel and hospitality businesses in Belfast owned and controlled by Lord Rana.

The company has six separate hotels each trading actively, ranging from the 4-Star Ramada Plaza at Shaw's Bridge, the city centre Days Hotel, the Holiday Inn Express close to Queen's University, Cordia self-catering apartments and two city centre budget hotels trading under the IBIS brand.

In each of the two most recent years, group turnover has increased. In the year to April 2013, turnover increased by 11% after an increase of 5% in the previous year, and exceeded £14.6m.

Recorded operating profits fell, and a loss of £1.4m was posted. An important explanation of this loss is the outcome after exceptional costs of £3.2m were deducted as a reflection of an estimate of the impairment of the value of assets.

Excluding the exceptional charge, the group was trading with an operating profit.

The exceptional costs also created an overall pre-tax loss.

The notes to the financial statements again confirm ongoing litigation with the NI Housing Executive where a development agreement, signed in 1998, is in dispute.

The Housing Executive is claiming entitlement to the full (re-)possession of the remaining undeveloped lands linked to the Lincoln Centre and next to the now completed Days Hotel as a result of a dispute about the alleged non-fulfilment of the original development agreement.

The downside of the recent fall in property values is that the group, in four of the last five years, has registered a net loss on the revaluation of its assets. In the year to April 2012, an unrealised loss of £20.3m was deducted from the balance sheet value of assets. In the most recent year, a further revaluation loss of £0.75m was deducted.

The fixed assets of the group remain on the books at nearly £80m, compared with a balance sheet value of £113m in April 2009.

Employment has averaged just under 300 people in recent years and in the last year averaged 282 people.

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