The Dalata Hotel Group is considering a possible purchase of Cork’s Clarion Hotel, which is currently on the market with a €30m price tag.
Dalata is the largest hotel group in Ireland via its ownership of the Maldron and Clayton brands.
It will shortly have around €250m to spend on expansion plans.
Yesterday, the group announced the raising of €160m which it said it could have comfortably surpassed via a new share issue.
That will be added to by the raising of a further €80m to €90m in debt.
Those new funds will go towards expanding its hotel portfolio (which currently numbers close to 50) via acquisitions of existing properties and new builds.
Up to €30m will also be spent on significantly enhancing existing properties including the Clayton in Ballsbridge and at Dublin Airport with expanded corporate facilities and bedroom numbers.
Management said a lot of value remains to be extracted from its current portfolio.
In terms of acquisitions, management said it will look at all opportunities in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Galway and Belfast and could have six or seven under serious consideration by year’s end.
These include the Gresham in Dublin and the Clarion in Cork.
While less firm on the former which could go for up to €60m, Dalata boss Pat McCann said yesterday the group would definitely be interested in looking at the Clarion, which is operated by Choice Hotels and was put on the market in late July.
This year is expected to see around 60 hotel transactions, as the likes of Nama and Ulster Bank continue to offload assets.
Dalata is also considering bidding for hotels it manages on behalf of either receivers or other owners. Up to €100m of the new funds could go directly on buying existing hotels.
Regarding the new builds, Dalata’s management is largely looking at Dublin and is currently in talks around a number of sites.
It hopes to have sites purchased inside the next five months and would like to be on-site within a year, with construction likely to take up to 18 months.
The company sees scope for two or three new hotels in Dublin, with the consensus being that the capital is short of about 4,000-5,000 rooms at peak demand times.
Mr McCann also urged the Government to retain the 9% Vat rate for the hospitality and tourism sectors, saying it keeps Ireland competitive with the rest of the EU and the volume of visitors and jobs it has attracted has effectively meant the exchequer has gained, rather than lost out.
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