herald

Saturday 2 August 2014

Examiner is called in after Ritz Carlton debt hits $47m

THE FIVE-STAR Ritz Carlton hotel in the Powerscourt Estate -- a favourite haunt of celebrities -- has had an examiner appointed to oversee its debts of €47m

The company that owns the 200- room Co Wicklow hotel -- which regularly welcomes stars such as Keith Duffy, Robbie Keane, and was the venue for Brian Ormond and Pippa O'Connor's wedding -- owes NAMA €47m, the High Court has heard.

An interim examiner has now been appointed to the hotel, which also features a Gordon Ramsay restaurant.

However, the High Court also heard that the international Ritz Carlton Hotel Company BV, which currently runs the hotel, has flagged that it is prepared to invest in the luxury venue.

Applying for the interim examiner on behalf of Carrylane Ltd, trading as the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Rossa Fanning said the hotel's ownership structure is complex and involves five different types of investors.

Worst

Treasury Holdings, now in liquidation, is the ultimate controlling shareholder in Carrylane Ltd.

He said the hotel, which began trading in 2007, had the misfortune to open at the worst possible time in the economic cycle and has been trading at a loss since it opened.

There are 293 employees.

Mr Fanning said the Ritz Carlton BV Group was willing to fund the ongoing trading losses of the hotel until it breaks even in 2015.

The application for an interim examiner was supported by by all interested parties, including NAMA and the Powerscourt Estate, which gets over €400,000 a year in annual rent.

Turnover for the hotel peaked in its first full year of trading in 2008 at €17m but since that date it has declined by 26pc to €12.6m last year. Occupancy averaged 41pc last year compared to an overall average in Irish hotels of 61pc.

The case will come before the court again on November 28.

hnews@herald.ie

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