Hastings Hotels toasts bumper year as pre-tax profits double to £4.2m
Hastings Hotels has doubled its profits to £4.2m in the space of a year while also boosting turnover to more than £42m.
The family-run Belfast group, which owns six hotels including the Europa and the Culloden Estate and Spa, saw pre-tax profits soar to £4.2m for the year to October 2015 - up from £2.2m a year earlier.
Hastings Hotels' vice-chairman, Edward Carson, said the company had produced a "solid set of set of results, with all our hotels making a positive contribution".
"We look forward to seeing what 2016 will bring," Mr Carson added.
"We are excited that strip-out and demolition work has begun on schedule to Windsor House - Ireland's tallest commercial building - which will be completely transformed into the Grand Central Hotel."
Hastings'' turnover increased by 7% during the year, rising from £39.8m to £42.5m.
In the company report, it said the business's directors consider that the outcome for the year is satisfactory".
"The group will continue to seek every opportunity to increase profitable turnover," the report added.
Work has started on Hastings' new £30m Grand Central hotel in Belfast city centre.
The four-star, 200-bedroom building will transform 23-storey Windsor House, which it bought for £6.5m.
It hopes to complete work on the project by 2018.
Hastings is confident for the future and expects the commercial environment "to remain competitive in 2016".
Profits following taxation were up at the company, more than doubling from £1.4m to £3.1m.
However, the latest accounts showed that Hastings' net debt also increased, rising from £10m to £14.7m during the reporting period.
The workforce across the hotel group increased during the course of the year, rising from 1,114 staff to 1,185. That was made up of 639 part-time and 546 full-time workers.
The total remuneration for the group's directors rose to £1m for the year, up from £931,000. The highest-paid director received almost £200,000.
Hastings Hotels owns the Slieve Donard in Newcastle, the Stormont Hotel, the Europa and the Culloden in Belfast, Ballygally Castle near Larne and the Everglades in Londonderry. It also has a share in Dublin's luxury hotel, the Merrion.
The group said that approximately 150 staff jobs would be created, along with hundreds of others during construction, through the Grand Central hotel project.
Guest rooms will make up the first 16 floors of the building, with floors 17 and 18 boasting serviced apartments, and the top floors featuring office space.