Belfast Telegraph

Owner of St Anne's Square posts £3.3m pre-tax profits

Shamus Jennings
Shamus Jennings
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

The company which owns the St Anne's Square complex in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter made a £3.3m pre-tax profit last year, new company accounts show.

Ducales Capital Ltd is the parent group for a variety of interests of well-known Belfast businessman Shamus Jennings.

The group's activities range from hotels and car park operations, to property investment and estate management. It owns the Ramada Encore on Talbot Street, recently renamed the Ramada by Wyndham Belfast.

Ducales is also behind the bid to turn the site of the original Harp Bar in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter into a new 17-bed boutique hotel.

The site on Hill Street, which was transformed into offices in the early 1990s, was occupied by the Housing Executive until the organisation relocated in March last year.

Ducales' bid, which also proposes a new ground floor restaurant and bar, was submitted to Belfast City Council in March.

The group also owns a 35.9% stake in XTA Investments Ltd, the parent company of building firm SIAC, which has been involved in major road infrastructure projects in the Republic in recent years.

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Up to the end of September 2018, Ducales Capital Ltd recorded a turnover of £8.4m, up from £7.7m in 2017. Pre-tax profits dropped from £3.97m to £3.3m.

The group employed around 67 people during the year, most of them in its Talbot Street Hotel. Staff costs amounted to £1.42m. The report also revealed Ducales' investment properties are valued at £17.9m.

Alongside his brother Francis, Shamus Jennings was once listed among the wealthiest people in Northern Ireland.

He now regularly appears on the motor circuit, competing in the British GT racing series in his G-Cat team's Porsche GT3R car.

Their father, Gerald Jennings, a well-known horse breeder, set up business services company Rotary in Belfast in the 1950s.

The firm grew into a massive business, operating in 40 countries before it was sold in 2008 to an Australian engineering company in a cash and shares deal worth £95m.

Gerald Jennings was also successful in the world of commercial property, developing the Erneside Shopping Centre in Enniskillen.

Shamus and Francis Jennings' property empire Cusp, later renamed Valto, built St Anne's Square and the Clarendon Dock business park. At one time the group owned of £500m property portfolio that included the Junction One retail centre in Antrim, along with shopping developments in Lisburn and Coleraine.

In 2013, Valto entered administration, with St Anne's Square transferred to Ducales.

The Beacon House office block in Clarendon Dock was transferred to new company Glenmayne Ltd, which includes Francis Jennings as director.

Belfast Telegraph

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