Macdonald hotels abandons plan to sell 27 properties in favour of new deal

08 November 2019 by
Macdonald hotels abandons plan to sell 27 properties in favour of new deal

Macdonald hotels has abandoned a plan to sell 27 of its properties to a private equity investor in a deal that would have wiped out £190m of its debt.

The group had been due to finalise the sale of the hotels, including the Rusacks Hotel, overlooking the 18th green at St Andrews, the Randolph Hotel in Oxford (pictured) and the Bath Spa by the end of August.

But today it confirmed it had abandoned the plan in light of another offer. A spokesman said: "We decided not to proceed with the negotiations for the sale of 27 properties after receiving a major offer for two of our hotels.

"This deal is due to conclude before the end of the month and will enable us to substantially reduce the group's borrowings. It also allows us to take forward discussions on a number of very positive refinancing options for the business, which are actively under consideration."

The group has not revealed which two of its hotels are under offer.

In January this year it was announced that the group was making around 50 staff redundant due to "unsustainably high costs".

It said difficulties experienced by the businesses as a result of an "above inflation" rise in business rates, alongside the rising costs of minimum wage rates, energy bills, the apprenticeship levy and pension contributions, were highlighted in a letter to staff.

In the most recent accounts for Macdonald Hotels lodged at Companies House for the year to 29 March 2019 the company recorded a pre-tax loss of £1.1m while turnover dropped by £1m year-on-year to £153.2m.

In 1996 Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, which had grown to 100 hotels and resorts with an annual turnover of £240m, was floated on the stock market - a move that the founder Donald Macdonald later admitted was a mistake. "It cost us plenty - in terms of the product - to take the business to market," he told The Caterer in 2007.

The company was brought back into private hands in 2003 through a £620m management-led buyout in a joint venture with the Bank of Scotland which, at the time, was one of the biggest public-to-private deals ever seen in Scotland.

In 2007, the company sold 24 of its UK hotels to Moorfield Real Estate Fund for more than £400m, a move that helped the business to further establish a solid footing in the four- and five-star markets.

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