Losses narrow at Ireland’s largest hotel group as Covid restrictions ease

Dermot Crowley, Dalata CEO Designate

Ellie Donnelly

Losses at Ireland’s largest hotel group Dalata narrowed to €37.8m in the first half of this year, from a loss of €70.9m in the corresponding period last year.

The company, whose brands include the Maldron and Clayton hotels, reported a positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation of €1.4m in the six months to June 30 driven by “strong operational management.”

Revenue of €39.6m was down 51pc compared to the corresponding period last year, with the tourism sector particularly impacted by Covid restrictions.

Occupancy levels for the first half of this year fell to 19.9pc from 34.3pc in the same period last year.

The company said there has been increasing demand for staycations since hotels fully re-opened for leisure in May in the UK and June in the Republic of Ireland.

Occupancy levels across its hotels were at 44pc in June, increasing to 58pc in July and 68pc in August.

The company has a “robust” balance sheet backed by €1.2bn in property, plant and equipment.

Dalata had cash and undrawn committed debt facilities of €270m at June 30.

The company’s current pipeline of over 2,600 rooms in prime locations will see its UK footprint surpass Dublin by 2025.

Dermot Crowley, Dalata CEO Designate, said: “International travel in Ireland returned on 19 July and restrictions were relaxed in the UK earlier in the summer. This is an important development as our hotels in Dublin and London require the return of international travel for occupancies to recover more substantially.”

Mr Crowley said the Irish and UK governments have provided “tremendous supports to the hospitality industry over the last 18 months which have greatly helped us in weathering this crisis and protecting employment.”

“As the hospitality industry begins to recover and these supports unwind, it is important to bear in mind that it will take some time for the industry to fully recover,” he said.

The reduced VAT rate of 9pc in the sector “should be extended further to support the industry and the large number of jobs that depend on it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dalata’s deputy CEO Stephen McNally is to retire from his executive role and the board.

Mr McNally was a founding executive of Dalata and has held his current position since 2007.

He will remain in his executive position as the group completes a succession process and will step down from the board early next year.