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Strong trading offsets fall in Belfast hotel value

Profile Photo By: Steve Shellum
November 10, 2015

Strong trading offsets fall in Belfast hotel value

Merchant Hotel BelfastThe company that owns the five-star Merchant Hotel in Belfast made a loss of more than ?3 million in 2014 due to a fall in the value of the hotel buildings, the BBC reported. However, Merchant Hotel Ltd had a solid trading performance with turnover rising to more than ?11m.
That equated to a trading profit of about ?1m after interest payments.
A note in the accounts states that the value of the building was written down by ?4.1 million.
The firm said it has also ?substantially agreed? long-term arrangements with the bank that now controls its loans.
In 2014, the loans relating to the hotel were?sold to Goldman Sachs by Ulster Bank, which has sold a large number of loans in a move to reduce its involvement in property-related lending.
The Merchant accounts state that although the process of reaching agreement with Goldman Sachs is ?not yet finalized? the directors expect ?adequate facilities? will be secured.
The hotel is owned by Bill Wolsey, Beannchor Group. Wolsey is one of the leading figures in Northern Ireland?s hospitality business.
In a statement the group said: ?The Merchant Hotel has reported a strong trading period, however, following impairment write-downs this has reflected a loss in the accounts for the year.
?Long-term funding has been agreed with Beltany Property Finance Limited (Goldman Sachs affiliate). Directors remain optimistic about future trading performance.?

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