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Profits at luxury hotel group operated by Belfast developer leap 39% to £10.82m

By Gordon Deegan

Published 04/12/2015

The luxury five-star Claridges in the West End of London
The luxury five-star Claridges in the West End of London

Pre-tax profits at the luxury Maybourne Hotel Group operated by Belfast-born businessman Paddy McKillen have increased by 39% to £10.82m.

New figures lodged by Coroin Ltd with Companies House show that the company recorded the pre-tax profit after revenues increased by 7%, going from £142.5m to £152.5m.

Coroin oversees the operation of the luxury five-star Claridges in the West End, the Connaught in Mayfair and Berkeley at Knightsbridge, all in London.

Mr McKillen, whose family ran a tyres and exhaust dealership in north Belfast, had been locked in a row with billionaire Daily Telegraph owners the Barclay brothers over ownership of the collection of hotels.

But their tussle ended earlier this year after the Qatari-backed Constellation Hotels Group bought the Maybourne group.

It then installed Mr McKillen as the person to lead, direct and develop the luxury hotels.

As part of the arrangement, Mr McKillen sold his 36% of Coroin to the Constellation Hotels Group, while the Barclay brothers sold their 64% stake.

A sign of Mr McKillen's growing influence was the appointment of Liam Cunningham, an Irishman and the director of Mr McKillen's Ireland-based entertainment group, to the board of Coroin as a non-executive director on August 31.

At the end of last year, the company had bank loans of £547m, and the accounts confirmed that the group's loans were refinanced in October of this year with new lenders and were repayable in 2022.

The directors stated that the business performed robustly last year, with the revenue available per room increasing by 6% and operating profits also rising by 6% to £47m.

However, interest payments of £37.42m reduced the group's profits to £10.82m.

The directors' report also stated that the projections for 2015 forecast increased operating profit and cash flows, reflecting both increased average room rates and occupancy.

And they predicted that the hotel group's performance for 2015 would be above market levels.

According to the update, the group's "robust results" for 2014 were mainly down to a co-ordinated execution of a broad range of management initiatives dealing with operations improvements.

The report claimed that strong margins were maintained thanks to a comprehensive purchasing plan, adherence to service and product standards and efficiency initiatives at head office and across Claridges, the Connaught and the Berkeley.

It added that a robust capital investment plan, which was powerfully underpinned by successful management strategies, had helped to create a sense of "timeless glamour" at the art deco-style Claridges.

The Berkeley in Knightsbridge, meanwhile, has developed the most significant corporate account base in the group with a high repeat guest factor.

Numbers employed by the group last year increased from 1,278 to 1,410, with staff costs totalling £39m.

Remuneration to directors last year totalled £1m with the highest paid receiving £802,000.

Belfast Telegraph

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