Macdonald Hotels has rescued the iconic Aviemore Highland Resort in the Scottish highlands from administration after securing financial backing to purchase the resort outright and complete an ambitious £80m refurbishment project.
The £130m Aviemore resort, which houses four hotels, a woodland lodge and a championship golf course, entered administration earlier this year.
The resort, which was owned by a consortium made up of Macdonald Hotels, Lloyds Banking Group and Scottish construction firm Tulloch, faced the prospect of being sold off piecemeal because of protracted planning difficulties relating to the refurbishment, which are estimated to have cost £15m in unnecessary interest costs.
However, Macdonald Hotels - which has managed the resort for nearly 20 years - has now secured funding from Lloyds to complete the refurbishment of each of the hotels on the resort and has agreed a deal with administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers to acquire the business, safeguarding around 300 jobs.
The project will see additional facilities, including a children's fun factory, cinema and clubhouse facility at the Spey Valley Championship Golf Course at Dalfaber, built at the resort.
Donald Macdonald, executive chairman of Macdonald Hotels, said: "It is time to put aside the baggage and troubles associated with this resort over the past 20 years and for all concerned to grasp the lifeline which the bank has given us. Our task, along with the ongoing support of the Cairngorm National Park Authority, is to establish the resort as a world class leisure and conference destination that we can all be proud of and one which will help maximise the full potential of the area."
Macdonald Hotels also revealed its results for the year ended September 2008. Pre tax profit was £12.3m compared with £124.7m in 2007, although 2007's profit included £123.4m from the disposal of 24 hotels.
By Gemma Sharkey
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