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36. Hastings Hotel Group

Managing director: Howard Hastings

Employment: 1,070

Turnover: £37.5m

Pre-tax profit: £2.4m

The homegrown, family-run chain owns six hotels in Northern Ireland — the Europa and Stormont in Belfast, the Culloden at Cultra, Slieve Donard in Newcastle, Ballygally Castle on the Antrim coast and the Everglades in Londonderry — and also has an equity interest in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

The business started in the pub trade but then began growing its hotel assets in the 60s after buying the Stormont Hotel. Founder Dr Billy Hastings then bought the Culloden before buying the Europa at the height of the troubles and reopening it as a four-star hotel, one which has been frequented by VIP visitors includingf Bill and Hilary Clinton when he was President of the USA.

Managing director Howard Hastings is also chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Group headcount climbed slightly last year along with a £1m increase in turnover and £1.7m boost to profit.

1066 House

587 Upper Newtownards Road



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From Belfast Telegraph