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Egyptian tycoon to buy London's Stafford hotel for £75m – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

15 June 2009 by
Egyptian tycoon to buy London's Stafford hotel for £75m – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Egyptian tycoon to buy London's Stafford hotel for £75m
ReadÁ‚ the full article in The Times >>

Lloyds suffers Á‚£450m loss on Admiral Taverns The Lloyds banking group will lose an estimated Á‚£450m on pub giant Admiral Taverns in one of its biggest write-offs of a single investment. Its Bank of Scotland arm has lent more than Á‚£850m to the group since its foundation in 2004 by the Landesberg and Rosenberg families to fund a string of ambitious acquisitions that took the estate to more than 2,000 pubs. However, the downturn in the market has cut the value of the portfolio to less than Á‚£500m. BoS has reportedly been repaid just Á‚£110m from the sale of 300 pubs in 2008. Lloyds is now sounding out potential buyers of its debt. AdmiralÁ¢Â€Â™s owners put a minimum amount of equity into the group and used the bank to fund expansion, starting with Á‚£63m acquisition of 85 Enterprise Inns pubs and culminating in 2007 with the purchase of 869 pubs from Punch Taverns. Á¢Â€Â" 14 June, ReadÁ‚ the full article in The Sunday Times >>

Reuben brothers make Á‚£48m bid for Premium Bars and Restaurants Ritz owners the Reuben brothers have tabled a Á‚£48m bid for Premium Bars and Restaurants (PBR), the troubled operator of more than 50 bars, restaurants and clubs in the UK including the Living Room celebrity haunts and the Prohibition bar chain. The plan would involved the AIM-listed business (which suspended its shares in December) agreeing to a pre-pack administration to shed some leases and liabilities. The Reubens, who hold a 32.5%stake in PBR, would then buy back all its freehold assets and most of the leaseholds. The deal requires the banks to roll over Á‚£30m in debt and to agree to reasonable covenants. The ReubensÁ¢Â€Â™ bid trumps a Á‚£45m offer from PBRÁ¢Â€Â™s management team. Interest has also been expressed by PBRÁ¢Â€Â™s former chairman Mark Jones and by bar and lap-dancing operator Ladhar Leisure. Á¢Â€Â" 14 June, ReadÁ‚ the full article in The Sunday Times >>
Fergus Henderson learns Eritrean cooking to support refugees
Chef Fergus Henderson has spent an afternoon learning how to cook Eritrean dishes with a refuge called Lemlem as part of the Simple Acts campaign to make refugees in the UK feel more welcome. The campaign, backed by charities such as Refugee Action and the Red Cross, forms part of Refugee Week, which begins on Monday. It encourages Britons to carry out one of 20 simple acts such as inviting a refugee for tea or learning another language. Á¢Â€ÂœSharing food from different countries is one of the simplest ways to learn more about other cultures and identities,Á¢Â€Â commented Henderson, who is renowned for his use of offal and nose-to-tail ingredients at his St John restaurant in London. Á¢Â€Â" 14 June, ReadÁ‚ the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

Premier Inn launches price war with Travelodge
Premier Inn, the UKÁ¢Â€Â™s largest budget hotel chain, has launched a price war by offering rooms at Á‚£29 a night to match its key rival Travelodge. The offer is aimed at holidaying families over the summer. With April revenue per available room (revpar) down by 11.1%, hoteliers are increasingly using discounts and promotions to draw in customers. InterContinental, for example, has seen a high take-up of its promotion of a free Sunday to customers staying on Friday and Saturday nights. Research from Deloitte suggests the strategy is slowing down the decline in revpar, with weekend leisure and London weekday corporate demand actually growing over the past five months. Á¢Â€Â" 14 June, ReadÁ‚ the full article in the Sunday Express >>

Hastings Hotels boss, Garry Hawkes and Delia Smith honoured by Queen
The chairman of Hastings Hotels, veteran contract caterer Garry Hawkes, and cookery writer and broadcaster Delia Smith were all honoured in the 2009Á‚ QueensÁ¢Â€Â™ Birthday Honours List. Knighthoods were awarded to Dr William George of Hastings Hotels (CBE) for his services to the tourism industry and to John Garry Hawkes (CBE) for his services to business and to vocational training. Hawkes, who was until recently chairman of vocational training body the Edge, is a former president of the British Hospitality Association who worked for Gardner Merchant, Sodexo and Aramark. OBE Delia Smith, who has sold more than 20 million books worldwide,Á‚ was also elevated to the status of CBE for her services to the food industry. Á¢Â€Â" 13/14 June, ReadÁ‚ the full articles in the Sunday Times >>
Missing chef had series of flings with married men
Detectives seeking York University chef Claudia Lawrence, who disappeared without trace on 18 March, have unearthed claims that the 35-year-old had a string of flings with married men, including a dalliance with a scrap metal merchant that broke up his marriage. The inquiry has been focusing on LawrenceÁ¢Â€Â™s Á¢Â€Â˜complexÁ¢Â€Â™ and secretive love life that was concealed from family and friends. Earlier this month, Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway made an appeal on the BBCÁ¢Â€Â™s Crimewatch programme for former partners to come forward. The appeal prompted a flood of gossip about |LawrenceÁ¢Â€Â™s private life, which claimed she Á¢Â€Â˜deliberately targets married men and then dumps themÁ¢Â€Â™. Á¢Â€Â" 14 June, ReadÁ‚ the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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