Belfast Telegraph

Gresham Hotel's profits double as sale speculation grows

By John Mulligan

Dublin's iconic Gresham Hotel on O'Connell Street saw its operating profit nearly double last year to €3.4m (£2.4m) as an improving economy and higher visitor numbers helped boost its performance.

The property, which is owned by Precinct Investments but controlled by the Republic's bad bank, Nama, is set to be put up for sale soon.

The hotel, a popular resting place for visitors from Northern Ireland, could fetch as much as €60m (£42m).

Newly-filed accounts for Precinct show that revenue at the hotel rose to €18.1m (£12.6m) last year, from €17.2m (£12m) in the previous 12 months.

Its operating profit in 2013 was €1.8m (£1.3m).

Precinct said that operating profit on continuing activities before non-recurring and exceptional items, depreciation, finance costs and tax was €3.9m (£2.7m) last year, which was 34% higher than in 2013.

Hotels in Ireland's capital have been enjoying hardening rates and high occupancy levels as the domestic economy recovers and tourist numbers increase. A weak euro is also helping the sector.

It had been widely anticipated during the past few months that the Gresham was about to be put on the market by Nama. However, the hotel has yet to be formally placed on the market.

The chief executive of Ireland's biggest hotel group, Dalata, recently estimated that the Gresham would fetch as least €60m if it were to be sold..

That figure easily makes the attraction one of Ireland's most expensive hotel properties.

The hotel's existing management team, headed by Patrick Coyle, are likely to be among the interested bidders.

In Northern Ireland, there have been nine hotel transactions totalling £67.36m so far this year.

And according to the property experts CBRE, US buyers accounted for 44% of all transactions by value.

Purchasers from the Republic represented 47%, with the remainder invested by parties in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph