2015 is now widely expected to see the departure of the immensely popular and widely respected Moran family from their hotel chain that includes the Crown Moran, the Chiswick Moran and the Bewleys Hotel chain.
Irish hotel group Dalata, founded nearly a decade ago by former executives in the Doyle Hotel chain, led by former Jurys Doyle Hotels Chief Executive Pat McCann, were this month completing a €450m takeover of the family-owned group.
The takeover, which arose because of the ruinously expensive acquisition of the Bewleys hotel chain just before Ireland’s economy collapsed, is expected to be signed off this week but will need to be rubber-stamped at an EGM of Dalata shareholders next month.
The takeover will make Dalata Ireland’s largest hotel operator.
Moran founder Tom Moran and his family are expected to retain the Red Cow Moran Hotel in south west Dublin, buying the landmark property from which he built up the family business, for an estimated €8m under the auspices of a newly-formed company called Guestford.
The Moran group had 2,627 rooms in ten hotels in Dublin, Cork, London, Manchester and Leeds, employing about 1,000 people.
Dalata offered over €460m for the chain of 10 Bewleys hotels, including the four in this country.
Other potential purchasers included Starwood Capital Group and Marathon Asset Management who were asked by merchant bankers Rothschild to submit bids.
Moran &Bewley’s had been majority-owned by Allied Irish Banks, AIB, and US hedge fund Canyon Capital, since a refinancing and debt-for-equity swap a year ago took control away from founder Tom Moran.
The deal involved the injection of €125m into the company and the reduction of its crippling debt from €695m to €205m.
If the cost of the financing the Bewleys acquisition is pout to one side the company was well-run and profitable, making more than €100m this year and expected to deliver earnings of about €32m before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)
Dalataoperates 5,800 bedrooms across 39 hotels, with a total of and had revenues of €35m in the first half of this year with forecast profits of up to €8m for the full year.
It raised €265m in its stock market flotation in March and lined up borrowings to enable it to go on a €500m acquisition spree.