Dalata aims to buy up to 25 hotels in Irish market
HOTELS group Dalata wants to buy 20 to 25 Irish hotels in the next three years.
Dalata operates 39 hotels, including those under the Maldron brand.
The group has been on a spending spree, including striking a deal with US investment giant Blackstone to buy its 25pc stake in the companies that own the Ballsbridge and Clyde Court Hotels, in Ballsbridge, Dublin.
The deal is subject to the approval of other shareholders, including Ulster Bank and ACC. who have first refusal on the shares.
Dalata has access to as much as €500m to finance its expansion plan, including new loans from Irish and international banks, executives said yesterday.
"When the Irish banks look at us it's corporate debt as opposed to specifically against hotels, there's very strong interest from Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and then a number of the UK banks as well. So we're in active discussions about a funding facility for when we need it," said Dermot Crowley, deputy chief executive of Dalata.
The company's chief executive, Pat McCann, said the group is focused on the Irish market for now.
"Essentially what we want do is maximise the opportunity in Ireland and then at some point in the future we will definitely look at the UK. Initially, it's all about Ireland," he said.
Yesterday Dalata announced its acquisition of the three-star Tower Hotel in Derry for almost €5.5m. The hotel will be re-branded under the Maldron label.
Other recent acquisitions include the Maldron hotels at Pearse Street and Parnell Square in Dublin.
The Dublin stock exchange- listed company announced a 31pc jump in first-half sales compared to 2013.
Mr McCann said the growth was down to the addition of Maldron hotels at Dublin Airport and Tallaght in Dublin, along with improvements in the economy and the tourism industry.
"Half-year trading is much stronger than we expected, and the second half looks equally robust," he said.
The group reported a 171pc increase in first-half earnings.
Investor reaction was muted yesterday, with Dalata's share price on the ISEQ closing up just 0.3pc yesterday to €3.099 a share.
Shares in the group were valued at €2.50 in March, when the company first floated.