Business Irish

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Hudsons and Arklow Bay Hotel a perfect match

Bistro at the Arklow Bay Hotel. Photo: Ronan Lang.
Bistro at the Arklow Bay Hotel. Photo: Ronan Lang.

THE recently acquired Arklow Bay Hotel firmly cements the Hudson family in the hotel industry. Having been successful in their other ventures, Hudson Concrete Limited and Hudson Civil Engineering Limited, the family, local to the area, have made the move to hoteliers.

The acquisition signifies an exit from a bank recovery process and secures the 140 jobs for full-time, part-time and seasonal staff. The well-established business in Arklow, which is in the heart of Co Wicklow, is a picturesque destination for leisure breaks, dining out and conferences. The 92-bedroom hotel is renowned for its unique wedding venue in the seaside town, just 40 miles from Dublin.

The hotel's Howard's restaurant, named after Lord Ralph Howard, the Viscount of Wicklow who lived the life of a connoisseur, appreciating fine food, fine wine and fine art, is Feile Bia accredited and makes every effort to use food that is Irish produced and locally sourced.

The Hudson family are delighted with the acquisition and move into this new business sector and already have plans to grow the business, further supporting the community and other local businesses with works already under way for a new bridal suite for brides on their special day.

Neil Hughes Managing partner, Hughes Blake

The Arklow Bay Hotel, which is now under new local management, is an example of a quality regional hotel bucking the trend after a challenging five years.

There are numerous components to the success of the business over that time. A strong weddings business tends to be a central pillar of regional four-star hotels and the Arklow Bay has placed significant focus on this area with excellent feedback in a very competitive marketplace.

In addition, the marketing channels employed by a regional hotel are critical. The Arklow Bay Hotel, less than an hour from Dublin, has impressed us with an attractive smartphone-friendly website and a dedicated social media strategy which highlights special offers and the value proposition of the hotel. This value attracts business from outside the local area, bringing strong spending to Arklow, where Hughes Blake has a fast-growing client base led by manager Jacinta Kelly.

However, price only gets a business into the game – service wins the game. The Arklow Bay Hotel's singular market focus has been on providing excellent service to customers.

Alma O'Brien Tax, Hughes Blake

It is great to see that business owners are starting to reinvest again and beginning to diversify their trading activities.

In acquiring a new business, there are a number of tax issues to be carefully considered by the purchaser. These include: what structure is used for the purchase of the business; how is it financed and whether tax relief is available on the finance option agreed; whether the business is acquired as a purchase of shares in the existing company or alternatively, whether a new company is incorporated to acquire the assets; and the value attributed to assets which qualify for tax deduction by way of capital allowances (eg, fixtures and fittings).

When acquiring a business, it is key to obtain professional tax advice to ensure that the structure used is the most suitable from both a commercial and tax perspective and that tax deductions are maximised.

We feel that is it important to work closely with our client at all stages of such a transaction and offer bespoke tax advice to maximise value to both the company and its shareholders.

Stephen McGivern Corporate finance, Hughes Blake

The recent acquisition of the Arklow Bay Hotel is indicative of the recovery that is now well under way in the hotel sector. The acquisition also shows that good long-term investments are possible to achieve with the right dynamics and that it is important to get your homework done to ensure that sufficient returns can be relied on in the medium-to-long term.

The Arklow Bay has always played a significant role in the local business community and, when combined with its wedding and conference trade, it has proved to be a robust business through the last five years. It is always important to recognise the mainstay of a hotel's trade and for the Arklow Bay this has largely been its relationship with the local community. During the boom times, many hotels lost touch with this dynamic and suffered badly as the overall sector contracted rapidly. Being an Arklow family, the Hudsons have a strong appreciation of the importance of their hotel to the community. During the due diligence process, they took the time to fully understand the trade of the hotel and the opportunities to grow the business over the next five years.

Sunday Indo Business

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