Belfast Telegraph

Brexit concerns could hold up funding for hotel projects in city centre, warns Dalata

By Staff Reporter

Irish hotel group Dalata, which has two hotels in Belfast, has said concerns around Brexit are likely to impact on funding for the planned pipeline of new venues in the city.

Dalata, which is building a new hotel at Brunswick Street in the city centre, already owns the Maldron at Belfast International Airport and the Clayton Hotel on Ormeau Avenue.

The company yesterday announced revenue had soared by 33% in the first half of the year to €130.1m (£109m).

But it said revenue per available room in the Northern Ireland hotels fell by 11.2% on a like-for-like basis to £55.10.

The company said its Clayton Hotel - formerly the Holiday Inn - had benefited from significant revenue during 2015 from business generated in the city which was not repeated in 2016.

And while Brexit has had no impact so far on the company, it said the vote to leave the EU could impact on funding for its planned pipeline of new hotels.

The company, which has recently entered exclusive discussion to acquire the operating interest at the former Burlington Hotel in Dublin, also announced it had purchased the freehold interest of the Maldron Hotel in Cork for €8.1m (£6.7m).

Elsewhere, earnings at the company rose by 50% to €34.3m (£29m) during the period excluding the likes of acquisitions costs and revaluation gains and losses.

The firm benefited from a net upward property revaluation of €41.5m (£34.7m) and started the construction of two hotels in Dublin - one in Cork, as well as one in Belfast - with all four set to open in 2018.

It confirmed that it had exchanged contracts to buy the development site in a deal worth £21m with McAleer and Rushe, with the deal completing on August 5.

In its UK operations, which include a total of eight hotels, occupancy was down to 78% from 79.3%.

Dalata also outlined the potential threats from Brexit including a weak sterling potentially deterring UK visitors.

But chief executive Pat McCann said it had been a very busy start to the year for the firm.

"Trade has been ahead of our expectations with the Irish hotel market performing exceptionally well in the period," Mr McCann explained.

"We have continued our acquisition and development programme as well as further developing the Clayton and Maldron brands in the UK and Ireland."

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