Sunday 4 December 2016

Sale of Gresham Hotel to Spain's Riu group completed for €92m

Published 16/09/2016 | 02:30

The Gresham Hotel
The Gresham Hotel
Luis Riu, ceo of the Riu group

The €92m sale of the Gresham Hotel in Dublin to Spain's Riu group has finally been completed.

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Nama put the iconic property on O'Connell Street up for sale earlier this year.

The hotel was owned by Precinct Investments, which is controlled by builder Bryan Cullen. Precinct is the vehicle that was used in 2004 to take the then stock market-listed Gresham Hotel Group private, in a €117m deal.

Riu beat competition from US private equity giants Apollo and Cerberus in the race to purchase the hotel, which is almost 200 years old.

It had been expected that the sale would have been formally announced a number of weeks ago, but it was only finalised this week, it's understood.

"Dublin is now one of the most interesting cities for investment," said Luis Riu, chief executive of RIU Hotels & Resorts.

"Its tourism industry is booming, demand for rooms rising and the city is putting a lot of money into its infrastructure. We are extremely pleased with the purchase of this hotel in one of the most beautiful European capitals."

He added: "We are sure that it will be the perfect addition to our collection of Riu Plaza hotels and many returning RIU clients will be drawn to discovering this destination with us."

The hotel group added that the Gresham - which was refurbished in 2013 - will require only "a few minor adjustments".

In an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent in June, Mr Riu said that he believed he would be able to buy the Gresham Hotel at an appropriate price.

"There needs to be a balance between the owner's expectations and the profitability that the buyer thinks he can get," he said.

"But, if we didn't believe in this project, we would have left the bid already. So we think that we can definitely find this balance."

The Gresham - now known as The Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin hotel - has 323 rooms and suites, 20 function rooms, a restaurant and a bar.

The Riu group is 49pc-owned by travel giant TUI, and is TUI's biggest hotel brand, operating more than 100 resorts and hotels around the world.

Last year, according to Luis Riu, his hotel group generated revenue of €1.8bn and he said the figure will rise 15pc this year to over €2bn.

It has over 27,000 employees, and last year spent €350m on the construction of new hotels, as well as refurbishment projects. This year, Mr Riu said the group expects to invest about €500m.

Irish Independent

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