Sunday 9 December 2018

Gleneagle to invest after €30m refinancing deal

Sharon Shannon plays a New Year’s Eve concert at the INEC at the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan
Sharon Shannon plays a New Year’s Eve concert at the INEC at the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

The company behind the popular Gleneagle Hotel and INEC venue in Killarney is accelerating its capital-investment plans after completing a €30m refinance of its debt.

Gleneagle Group - which is owned by the O'Donoghue family - has transferred its facilities from AIB to Ulster Bank and a second provider, understood to be the WLR Cardinal Mezzanine Fund.

Patrick O'Donoghue, CEO of the Gleneagle Group, said the investment plan included "guestroom and general refurbishments, facility upgrades and technological advancements".

"This is being carried out on a phased basis, so as not to interfere with the operation of the hotels," he said.

"Drawing on our 60 years of experience in the hospitality industry, this programme of improvements will provide our guests with an enhanced visitor experience."

The INEC (Ireland's National Events Centre) facility is a popular entertainment venue and will host the likes of Niall Horan, Mario Rosenstock, Nathan Carter and Gary Barlow in the coming months.

Stephen Masterson, Ulster Bank's head of corporate banking, said the investment programme "will be a fantastic enhancement for visitors in the region".

The WLR Cardinal Mezzanine fund declined to comment. It is a joint venture between Cardinal Capital Group and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's private equity fund WL Ross & Co.

Ulster Bank was advised on the deal by Eversheds and the Gleneagle Group by PJ O'Driscoll solicitors.

Tourism in the Kerry region has been boosted by the filming of Star Wars on Skellig Michael.

The filming was worth an estimated €40m in advertising to Ireland, according to the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), a representative body for the tourism industry.

ITIC chief executive Eoghan O'Mara-Walsh said recently that he expects an increase of 5pc in tourism numbers next year and a rise of 7pc in the value of tourism to the Irish economy.

Meanwhile, Tourism Ireland - a cross-border body responsible for promoting the island of Ireland - is expecting a record year in 2018.

Sunday Indo Business

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