Sunday 8 December 2019

Reality show hotel enters receivership with debts in millions

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

THE Xavier McAuliffe-owned five-star Lyrath Estate Hotel in Kilkenny has gone into receivership, with debts running to tens of millions.

The 137-room hotel will remain open and will continue to trade as normal, with all bookings to be honoured, under the receivership.

The hotel is understood to employ up to 180 staff.

The luxury hotel, spa and conference centre outside Kilkenny was opened in 2006 at a cost of €50m, having been purchased for €6.5m in 2001.

The opening was a major media event because the project to develop the hotel had been the subject of a reality-TV show broadcast by RTE.

The redevelopment includes a modern conference centre with a capacity of 1,500, built alongside the original country house to create a large-scale resort.

The hotel has been loss-making, however, and accountant Kieran Wallace of KPMG was appointed receiver last night by Bank of Scotland (Ireland).

Businessman Xavier McAuliffe is best known as the longtime owner of the Spectra photo-film business, but branched into hotels over the past decade.

The Lyrath Estate is controlled by an "unlimited company" that does not have to file detailed financial accounts with the Companies Office; however, sources said the debts associated with the development run to tens of millions.

An auditor's report filed with the Companies Office showed the company made a pre-tax loss of €278,278 in 2010.

The auditors' report said the losses cast "significant doubt" about the company's ability to continue as a going concern.

Earlier this year, general manager Patrick Joyce said in an interview that the hotel needed to generate €670,000 per month to keep up with costs, including a quarter-of- a-million per year in local authority rates.

Irish Independent

Also in Business