Chief executive of De Vere Group confirms impending sale of core businesses

10 December 2013 by
Chief executive of De Vere Group confirms impending sale of core businesses

The company is already in the process of boosting its coffers with discussions regarding the sale of the third arm of the business - De Vere Venues - now in advanced stages, after being put on the market in April for around £300m.

Coppel would not reveal who the purchaser of De Vere Venues was, but it is believed to be Starwood Capital, the private investment group which earlier this year bought the Principal Hayley Group of 23 city centre hotels and conference and training venues across the UK and France.

"It was agreed with Lloyds in December 2011 - soon after I joined De Vere - that we would work toward crystallising the value of the business over a three to four year period," explained Coppel.

"We have invested in the business, improved performance across the hotels and brought new blood into the company. This has all been achieved through a very tough trading period, but the forecasts are looking better for 2014 and 2015."

Major refurbishments have been undertaken at the four-AA-star, 120-bedroom Mottram Hall hotel in Cheshire, while work is underway on expanding the 25-strong Village brand by the development of three new properties in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. A further 10 sites have been identified for the growth of Village in locations which include Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Durham, York and Milton Keynes.

In-roads into the Lloyds debt has already been made with the sale of three hotels in Cambridge, Bournemouth and Southampton, while the five-AA-star, 201-bedroom Grand hotel in Brighton went on the market last month, with a price tag in excess of £50m, following a £4.25m refurbishment.

Coppel expects the nine De Vere Golf hotels, which include the five-AA-star, 128-bedroom Cameron House on Loch Lomond (pictured), will come to the market next year, with the sale of Village taking place during 2015.

"We are continuing to add value to the business all the time, which is being helped by the sustained improvement we are seeing in the performance of the hotels, and in particular increased room rates at Village," added Coppel.

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