Largest Irish operator looking for further European opportunities

by | 07 Sep 2022 | Portfolio

Pictured: The recently-opened Clayton Hotel Bristol City.

Dalata Hotel Group intends to expand further into Europe off the back of a strong first half of 2022.

The operator of Ireland’s two largest hotel brands, Clayton and Maldron Hotels, now has a pipeline of over 1,400 rooms. By the end of 2022 it will have brought 1,900 keys online across the year, while between 2023 and 2025 a further 1,125 rooms will be added.

Increasing footprint

Dalata stated it is actively looking at new opportunities across all of its regions, including large cities in continental Europe, though it emphasised that increasing its footprint in regional UK and London remains its primary focus.

This follows the opening of five hotels in the first half of 2022, with a further site launched in August, Maldron Hotel Merrion Road, Dublin. Clayton Hotel Manchester City Centre, Maldron Hotel Manchester City Centre and Clayton Hotel Bristol City were among the launches in the first quarter of 2022, while the operator also recently entered a lease for its first hotel in continental Europe, Hotel Nikko Düsseldorf.

Coming soon

These all bring the group’s current portfolio to 49 three and four-star hotels, comprising 10,650 rooms, consisting of 29 owned hotels, 17 leased hotels and three management contracts.

Next up to go live is the group’s 50th hotel, Clayton Hotel Glasgow City, opening in October. Further hotels are currently under construction in Brighton, Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin.

Ready to invest

Underpinning Dalata’s ambitions is what it believes is a robust financial position which should provide opportunity to grow. Its asset-backed balance sheet encompassing €1.3 billion in property, plant and equipment (including costs incurred in relation to two development assets: Maldron Hotel Merrion Road, Dublin and Maldron Hotel Shoreditch, London), plus H1 2022 valuation uplifts of €100.3 million.

The group is also reporting a good track record of successfully launching new hotels, with its 2021/2022 new build hotels trading ahead of expectations and the seamless integration of Hotel Nikko Düsseldorf, together contributing adjusted EBITDA of €4.8 million in H1 2022.

Great credentials

Dalata has a portfolio of leased assets which historically contributed strong cash flow for reinvestment. Its six newly-leased hotels and current leased pipeline of five hotels, all in prime locations, are expected to contribute annual EBITDA (after rent) of approximately €25 million when fully operational. The group also feels it has great credentials for identifying and securing opportunities.

However, the supply in Ireland remains reduced as a result of rooms being utilised for government-related business including the provision of emergency accommodation to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. At present, it is not known when these rooms will return to the market. Dalata has committed up to 5% of its rooms in the Republic of Ireland to be used as emergency accommodation until the end of 2022.

Strong recovery

Dermot Crowley, Dalata Hotel Group CEO, analysed: “The first half of 2022 was a period of strong recovery after the lifting of covid related restrictions at the end of January. The year to date has also been very busy on the development front with the addition of six hotels (1,600 rooms) across four cities. This includes our first exciting step into continental Europe as we entered the lease for Hotel Nikko Düsseldorf. Despite a challenging start to the year, we delivered revenues of €220.2 million for the period, exceeding the levels achieved in the first half of 2019.

“I am personally delighted with the progress we have made since the start of 2022. The achievements are the result of the expertise and commitment of the teams that operate throughout Dalata. I want to personally thank the entire team of people within Dalata for delivering six additional hotels and an excellent trading recovery. Despite the macroeconomic challenges, we look forward with optimism and enthusiasm to the months and years ahead.”

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