By Gordon Deegan
After opening more than 30 years ago, the five-star Kerry hotel co-owned by John and Francis Brennan enjoyed its “best ever year” in 2017, since opening more than 30 years ago.
However, the recent snow storms resulted in the Park Hotel in Kenmare taking a €100,000 hit to revenues. That said, John Brennan, who now holds a majority stake in the hotel, said bookings remain “very strong” for this year.
“It was a record year for us in 2017 as it topped 2007, which had been our best year up until 2017. In the tourism business in 2017, if you were selling beans on the side of the road, you did well,” said Mr Brennan, who largely controls the hotel since his brother Francis gave up complete control towards the end of 2016.
Newly filed accounts show that the hotel’s accumulated profits increased by €471,983 in 2016, to €2.7m. The company’s shareholder funds totalled €3.99m at the end of 2016.
John Brennan now has a 51% share of the hotel with his brother Francis controlling 19%. A new investor, Glen Dimplex chief executive Fergal Naughton, owns the remaining 31%.
Mr Brennan said that in spite of Francis giving up control of the business, “he remains fully involved and is currently on a six-week sales mission in the US and will be returning there for a further two weeks after that”.
Mr Brennan said that the deal brokered to sell 31% of the business to Mr Naughton was “done in 15 minutes”.
“We are extremely lucky to have Fergal and Rachel Naughton as partners. There are three winners in the deal — the Park Hotel, the Naughtons, and the bank,” said Mr Brennan.
The hotel employs 72 and will open for its longest period ever in 2018 when closing for only six weeks during the winter season.
Along with a cash injection into the business, the deal also eliminated the hotel’s bank debt from a development of 18 luxury apartments built at the height of the boom in 2008.
Mr Brennan said the deal is allowing the hotel to spend €2.6m on refurbishment works.
“The premium tier [of Irish hotels] is where we want to be and the investment will bring us closer to that.”
Mr Brennan said the €100,000 weather-related revenue hit for the first quarter was “a massive blow”.
“We were fully staffed, fully stocked — everything ready to go.
“We had four people staying for five days instead of 60 people staying for three days and 40 people staying for two days.”
“It is spilt milk and there is no point crying over it.
“Once that money is gone, it is gone.”