Dalata, the largest hotel operator in Ireland, is expected to end the year in a ‘strong financial position’ as it looks to embark on growth and expansion plans in 2021.
Despite the challenging environment, EBITDA for the year ending 31 December 2020 is expected to be ‘marginally ahead of market expectations’, with current cash and undrawn debt facilities of €293 million after deducting upcoming payments including quarterly rent and interest.
Post the initial lockdown in Ireland and the UK, hotels reopened to the general public in June and July with hotels in regional Ireland and regional UK benefiting from strong staycation demand during the summer months.
The Group’s Dublin and London hotels were quieter because a higher proportion of their business is ordinarily driven by international travel and events.
Occupancy in Q3 amounted to 26% in Dublin, 60% in regional Ireland and 36% in the UK.
During December, bookings have been ‘encouraging but are on short lead times’. Occupancy for Q4 is currently projected to be 17% in Dublin, 28% in Regional Ireland and 21% in the UK.
The Group continues to progress the development pipeline of almost 3,250 rooms across Ireland and the UK. In Q4 2020, the Group completed the 44-bedroom extension at Clayton Hotel Birmingham and the Meeting & Events Centre at Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane in Dublin.
The current pipeline includes a number of projects including the opening of The Maldron Hotel Glasgow, expected in 2021, and the ongoing construction at four hotels in Glasgow, Bristol and two in Manchester. Clayton Hotel Manchester and Clayton Hotel Bristol are scheduled to open in Q1, while Maldron Hotel Manchester and Clayton Hotel Glasgow are both expected to open in Q2 2022.
A Design and Build contractor has also been selected for the new Maldron Hotel Shoreditch in London, with the hotel projected to open mid-2023. Other Maldron properties under development include sites in Birmingham, Liverpool. Brighton and Manchester.
Prime projects in Dublin will see The Samuel Hotel in summer 2021.
Dermot Crowley, Deputy CEO – Business Development & Finance, Dalata Hotel Group, said: “We have an exciting pipeline of hotels to open over the next three years. Despite the devastating impact of Covid-19, we announced three new hotels during 2020 in Dublin, Brighton and Manchester.
“We protected our liquidity as a priority over the last nine months through the strong relationships we enjoy with our stakeholders. In April, we completed a sale and leaseback of Clayton Hotel Charlemont in Dublin for €65 million with Deka Immobilien. In July, we increased our debt facilities with our banking club by €39 million, while in September, we raised €94.4 million from our shareholders through a share placing. The strength of our balance sheet, the retention of our teams and the quality of our hotel portfolio will give us a significant advantage as international travel recommences in 2021.”