Irish hotel giant Dalata Group plc — which will soon open its fourth hotel in Northern Ireland — has announced a 24% jump in revenues to €161.8m (£149m).
The company, which is listed on the Dublin and London stock exchanges, runs the Maldron hotels at Belfast International Airport and in Londonderry, and also owns the Clayton Hotel in Belfast’s Ormeau Avenue.
Next year it will open another Maldron, in Belfast’s Brunswick Street.
In its half-year results, the company said construction on the new Maldron was well underway.
Dalata reported profits of €32.7m (£30m) for the first half of the year — an 80% increase on the first six months of 2016, as a surge in average room rates in the Republic helped the bottom line.
Revenue growth was ahead of analyst expectations, with shares in the group jumping 7.7%, catapulting Dalata’s market capitalisation to just under €1bn (£0.9bn). And chief executive Pat McCann called for the retention of the Republic’s 9% Vat rate for the hotel and other tourism-related sectors.
He said he believed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Irish Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe “will be loathe” to tinker with it.
Mr McCann also said that Dalata has no designs on any more projects in Ireland and will be able to fuel its asset-light expansion in the UK without having to raise any more equity from shareholders, or any more debt.
The hotel group has just agreed to lease a planned 300-bedroom hotel in Manchester that will be built by Property Alliance Group. The hotel is set to open in mid-2020.
Mr McCann said that the focus for Dalata has been the UK for the past 18 months, even as it’s involved in a number of new hotel builds and extensions here.
“There might be one or two more projects in Ireland — but that’s a very big might,” he added.