Belfast Telegraph

Pub staff reopen for business again with new chain

By Margaret Canning

Former staff of Botanic Inns are running the pubs in Kurkova Ltd as part of a management agreement with the administrators, a report by KPMG revealed.

The group employed 537 people, of which 306 worked for Botanic Inns Limited and 231 for Kurkova.

While Botanic Inns has long been a household name, Kurkova was the parent company set up by group managing director Stephen Magorrian for those pubs which he owned outright.

Again, Ulster Bank is the main lender and is owed £6.7m, while Diageo is owed nearly £714,000 in a loan as well as £140,000 in trade debts.

Those pubs which Mr Magorrian owned as freehold and which are in Kurkova Ltd are McHugh's, The Parador, Denvir's Hotel, Molly Browns and Ryans Bar.

All except Denvir's and Molly Browns, which are in Downpatrick and Newtownards respectively, were in Belfast.

Kurkova also owned The Kitchen Bar and the Apartment in Belfast city centre though the buildings are owned by Commerz Real, owner of Victoria Square, and the McClean family, which also runs a chain of bookmakers.

As the case with Botanic Inns Ltd, the Kurkova report describes how the company had been in difficulties due to the economic downturn, falling asset values and the "civil unrest" engendered by the flags protest.

After its appointment, KPMG agreed that Mr Magorrian and his team, now operating as Horatio Group, would continue to run them.

Botanic Inns had earlier run pub firms such as CDC Leisure after KPMG had been appointed administrators.

KPMG lists around 80 creditors who are owed a total of £1.15m by Kurkova.

Belfast Telegraph