In order to enhance the performance and prospects of its four and five star hotels in Ireland and to realise the inherent value contained in its considerable property assets, the Group commenced a realignment of its Irish hotel portfolio some time ago. To-date, this has encompassed:
- Disposal of Jurys Skylon Hotel in 2002
- Disposal of Jurys Waterford Hotel in 2002
- Disposal of Jurys Tara Hotel in 2003
- Disposal of Jurys Green Isle Hotel in 2003
- Disposal of Jurys Limerick Hotel in 2004
- Closure and planned re-development of Jurys Cork Hotel (with work commencing this week and planned opening in 2006)
- A conditional re-investment programme in Jurys Burlington Hotel
- Opening of a new Jurys Inn, Parnell Street in Dublin
- Development of a new 4 star Jurys Croke Park Hotel in Dublin (scheduled to open in September 2005)
- A strategic review of options in relation to Jurys Ballsbridge Hotel, The Towers and The Berkeley Court Hotel The realignment of the Irish hotel portfolio which includes the imminent opening of Jurys Croke Park Hotel, has been augmented by a continuing development programme in the United Kingdom and USA. In the United Kingdom, following the opening of three new Jurys Inns properties in 2004, the Group has recently opened its 18th Jurys Inn at Southampton with Jurys Inn Nottingham scheduled to open later this year. A further three Jurys Inns are planned to open in 2006/2007. In the USA, Jurys Boston Hotel opened in June of 2004.
As part of this on-going process, the Board has reviewed its current strategic options in relation to Jurys Ballsbridge Hotel, The Towers and The Berkeley Court Hotel in Dublin. In line with our timetable, it has been decided that a public tender sales process will commence immediately in relation to circa five acres of what is known as the "Ballsbridge Site," currently encompassing Jurys Ballsbridge Hotel, The Towers and The Berkeley Court Apartments. C.B. Richard Ellis Gunne, Dublin, is advising the Company in relation to the tender process. It is currently envisaged that the remaining site area on which the Berkeley Court Hotel is situated will be retained and redeveloped as a 4 star hotel development, subject to planning and a successful conclusion of the tender process.
Commenting, Pat McCann, Chief Executive, Jurys Doyle Hotel Group plc said; "In making this decision, the Board has looked at the development opportunities for the Group as a whole in the interests of shareholders, staff and customers. We are faced with a simple market reality that by our high standards, the Ballsbridge properties are not performing to the levels required yet they represent a substantial property asset which we have to optimise in order to deliver on our overall growth strategy. The review process is now reaching its final stages and the objective is to unlock the value of a major asset while enabling us to plan for a continuing hotel presence in Ballsbridge where there is a clear market opportunity".
Jurys Ballsbridge Hotel, The Towers and The Berkeley Court Hotel will continue to operate as normal for the foreseeable future. The deadline for the completion of the tender process is 18th July next. It is expected that any disposal of the Ballsbridge site would be subject to Shareholder approval. It is envisaged that the subsequent planning process may take some time and in the interim, the Group is committed to providing its customers with the high standards of service, comfort and hospitality which are the hallmarks of these three properties.
Concluding, Pat McCann said: "Clearly this is an unsettling time for many of our staff who have been part of these hotels for many years. Many may view it as the end of an era. I would like to thank all our staff for their loyalty and continued support and to assure them that as and when decisions are made we will keep them fully informed. The disposal envisaged would result in overall staff numbers being reduced through normal procedures including voluntary redundancies. There will be potential for re-deployment in other properties within the Group and depending on relevant skill sets, for re-employment in the planned new hotel. In the meantime it is business as usual at Ballsbridge, The Towers and The Berkeley Court Hotels as the busy summer season is upon us"
Jurys Doyle Hotel Group operates seven hotels and six inns in Ireland. The Group portfolio in the United Kingdom encompasses six hotels and twelve inns with an additional four inns scheduled by 2007. In the United States there are three hotels in Washington and one in Boston. In all, the Group currently has 7,778 rooms with an additional 1,317 planned by 2007. 44% turnover is generated in Ireland, 46% in the UK and 10% in the USA. The results to 31st December 2004 show the Group had a turnover of €284.5m and EBITDA of €88.0m.
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