Thursday 25 May 2017

Group paid out €1bn for portfolio of trophy properties

The Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan
The Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

WITH upmarket hotels stretching from Prague to Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, the Quinn leisure portfolio is extensive and consists of trophy properties such as the Belfry in the UK's west midlands, and the five-star Sheraton hotel in Krakov, Poland's second city.

It's likely that between purchase costs and refurbishment outlays, the Quinn Group spent in the region of €1bn on its hotel and pub properties.

It forked out £186m (€210m) in 2005 to buy the Belfry -- which has hosted the prestigious Ryder Cup golf tournament a record four times -- and later unveiled plans to spend an eye-watering €300m refurbishing the resort.

Complex

Plans at the time called for boosting the number of bedrooms at the hotel to 500 from 324, as well as creating a new leisure complex with swimming pool, gym, spa and treatment facilities.

In 2004, the Quinn Group had stumped up €145m to purchase the Hilton Prague, which with almost 800 rooms has played host to dignitaries such as former US President George W Bush. The property is one of the largest Hilton hotels in Europe.

The Irish Independent revealed last year that a Luxembourg-based firm owned by Sean Quinn that directly controls the Hilton property posted a €16.5m loss in 2008.

Another Luxembourg company controlled by Sean Quinn that owns an Ibis hotel in Prague recorded a €2.1m loss that year.

In Ireland, the Quinn Group owns the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, as well as Buswells Hotel on Dublin's Kildare Street -- a traditional watering hole for politicians from nearby Leinster House.

The Quinn family also forayed with some gusto into the pub trade over the past two decades, concentrating primarily on Dublin. In Drumcondra both the Cat & Cage and Quinns were acquired by the family. Many of the properties were originally leased to managers who then paid rent to the Quinn Group.

Other properties that were purchased included what was formerly known as the Harp Bar on Dublin's O'Connell Bridge, which is now called the Q Bar, as well as the Barge Inn on Charlemont Street.

Irish Independent

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