Hotelier worth £21m after selling chain he founded

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A hotelier who admits his main qualification is a driving licence yesterday became a paper millionaire after selling his company to a venture capital company.

Nick Menzies, who founded Menzies Hotel Group in 1992, has sold the 14-strong chain to Nikko Principal Investments for £120m. Mr Menzies becomes an 18 per cent shareholder in the new business, making his stake worth £21.6m on the terms of yesterday's deal. The rest of senior management, all of whom are staying with the business, take 5 per cent.

The company made an underlying profit of £10.7m in the year to 31 January last year, up by 22 per cent on the previous 12 months. Turnover rose 17 per cent to £38.1m.

"My only qualifications are cycling proficiency and a driving test," Mr Menzies said yesterday. "We started from scratch to create an up-scale hotel group.

"We are delighted to be able to work with Nikko to take the business on to its next level. The UK four-star hotel sector remains fragmented and we believe that there are significant opportunities for us to lead consolidation of the sector."