Ulster Bank ‘weighs sale of hotel assets’

Royal Bank of Scotland Group is weighing up the sale of over €400m of Irish hotel assets.

Ulster Bank ‘weighs sale of hotel assets’

The lender’s Irish unit, Ulster Bank, would sell loans and lodgings in portions to generate more income, said sources.

The bank is also considering selling development land, in tranches, the people said.

RBS spokesman Erfan Hussain declined to comment on the matter.

Ulster Bank chief executive Jim Brown said in January his division has to wind down £9bn of assets being put into a bad bank by the end of 2016.

The bank hired investment bank Eastdil Secured LLC last month to advise on a separate potential sale of €1bn of commercial-property assets.

Ulster Bank’s assets include a stake in three lodgings in Dublin’s Ballsbridge embassy district.

Developer Seán Dunne bought the former Berkeley Court, the Towers ,and Jurys Hotel for about €380m and Ulster Bank, Rabobank Groep and Kaupthing Bank took control of the hotels in 2009.

Mr Dunne was granted bankruptcy protection by the High Court last year.

The announcement will be music to the ears of the Dalata hotel group who raised €65m more than they had expected following their listing of shares in Dublin and London.

The group had announced that it was seeking to raise gross proceeds of between €150m and €200m, but ended up raising €265m from the launch of its shares.

The sole purpose of the company’s cash raising was to build a battle chest to buy Irish hotels from the loan books of deleveraging banks.

Dalata deputy chief executive Dermot Crowley said after the floatation that they were expecting a number of portfolios of hotels to come on the market and will be looking to target these.

Mr Crawley said that Dalata was mainly interested in the towns and cities around Ireland.

He said it would be looking at any quality assets that come to the market in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Kilkenny.

* Additional reporting Vincent Ryan

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