Barclay brothers aren't putting on the Ritz

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The Independent Online

Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, owners of the Telegraph newspapers, made a £1.2m loss last year on their property and hotels empire, which includes the Ritz in London, compared to a £27m profit in 2004.

However, the blow was softened by a revaluation of the Ritz to £300m, up from £175m in 2004, according to accounts just filed for their holding company, Ellerman Investments.

The worst performance came from the Ritz Club Casino, which is in the hotel's basement. Because of disruption caused by the 7 July bombings and refurbishment, it made a loss of almost £1m compared to a profit of £17m in 2004.

The Ritz hotel itself fared better, making an operating profit of £4.4m, margin-ally up from the previous year. Profits in 2004 were boosted by property and hotel disposals, such as the sale of the Mirabeau hotel in Monte Carlo, which netted Ellerman Investments a profit of £11m.

The accounts state that because of this, the 2004 and 2005 figures "cannot be directly comparable".

Last week, the Barclays also released their maiden full-year accounts for the Telegraph newspaper group, which they bought in 2004. The titles made a loss of £12m after £46m of relocation and reorganisation costs.