The Hastings Hotel Group, including the Culloden, Stormont and Europa Hotels in Belfast and a joint venture share in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, has continued to trade successfully.
Turnover in the year to October 2008 was only fractionally different to the previous year. A small increase in revenue in the joint venture hotel offset a small fall in turnover in Northern Ireland. Operating profits were 36% lower in 2008 than in 2007. However, operating profits in 2007 were the highest in the past decade.
Pre-tax profits are lower than operating profits because of the deduction of interest levels on borrowed funds. However, in 2008, this relationship was affected by a large credit from the sale of some property, bringing a net gain of £2.4m to pre-tax profit.
Average employment numbers fell to 933 people in 2008, from 987 a year earlier. A feature of the change is that labour costs per employee rose by over 8%, meaning total employee costs rose.
The Group carries the value of its properties to the balance sheet below the current open market value. On the balance sheet, fixed assets are stated at £47.1m. The Directors however, estimate a realisation value of £70m.
The balance sheet value of shareholders funds increased in 2008 by £3.1m. At £26.8m, this is double the stated value in 2001.