Independent operator the Bulldog Hotel Group is to invest £20m in the company, to enable it to double its portfolio of seven properties over the next five years.
Property investment company the Commer Group has taken a 20% stake in the business, which specialises in transforming underperforming coaching inns into busy and profitable operations, in exchange for an undisclosed sum.
Edward Walsh (pictured left), Commer Group’s managing director who is joining Bulldog’s board as finance director, described Kevin Charity (pictured right), who heads the Bulldog Hotel Group, as “one of the best independent operators of regional hotels” in the UK.
“We have an ambitious acquisition and expansion programme and are already in detailed discussions with funding providers as part of that process,” he explained.
Charity said that Walsh’s experience as an investment banker will help Bulldog realise ambitious growth plans, which will focus on providing excellence on food, drink and accommodation.
“While many individual hotels can only afford to focus on just one area, we have the resources to ensure excellence across all three income streams and give guests and customers an all-round better experience. This is proving attractive to couples and families for holiday breaks, but also to the corporate market for meetings and conferences.
“The regional hotel market, and particularly the coaching inn sector, remains highly fragmented and with this investment we have never been better placed to take advantage of the acquisition opportunities that we continue to see and allows us to grow the estate from seven to fifteen by 2020.”
Launched in 2004, the Bulldog Hotel Group today has a turnover of more than £10m and employs over 320 staff across seven properties which are located in Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and County Durham.
The £40 million Commer Group specialises in investing in the hotel, licensed and leisure sectors and was established by Edward Walsh’s late father Jim Walsh in 1989.