Queens Moat to sell off 25 hotels

Queens Moat Houses, the heavily indebted hotels group, has put a portfolio of 25 UK hotels on the market which analysts say could fetch between pounds 60m and pounds 100m. The stock market welcomed the announcement and the shares added 2p to 31p yesterday. But the proceeds will still only be a drop in the ocean compared with borrowings which the group revealed last month were still a mountainous pounds 1bn at the end of December.

Andrew Coppel, chief executive, said the portfolio being disposed of comprises 19 hotels branded under the County name and six Moat Houses. Deutsche Morgan Grenfell and Christie & Co have been appointed to handle the sale.

Queens Moat has been steadily running down its interest in country-house- type hotels which do not fit into its core Moat House brand, situated on the edge of towns or on main routes or both. Last year, the group put 16 of its County hotels on the market and sold eight. It has sold a further three since December, including last month's sale of the Europa, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which was sold to Stakis for pounds 3.4m in March at the time of its results. The group said then that a further 27 hotels were earmarked for disposal.

Analysts pointed to the similarities between Queens Moats' County hotels and the White Hart chain recently sold by Forte to Regal Hotels. Forte, now owned by Granada since its successful takeover bid, received pounds 122m for White Hart. The County hotels are viewed as better quality, with estimates for their value ranging from between pounds 50m and pounds 60m to as much as pounds 100m.

It is understood that the group is hoping to find a single buyer for the whole portfolio, but has not had any indications of interest as yet. There are no plans to sell any more of the Moat House chain after completion of the latest disposal, which will leave the group with 52 hotels largely under the brand name in the UK. The group continues to own a substantial portfolio in the rest of Europe.

News of the latest plans comes hot on the heels of results showing that pre-tax profits of pounds 42.4m last year replaced losses of pounds 95.2m in 1994. The figures would have been much worse but for pounds 48.8m of interest waived under last year's pounds 1.3bn capital restructuring, which cut borrowings that stood at pounds 1.28bn at the end of 1994.

Stanley Metcalfe, chairman, reported "satisfactory" trading in the opening months of the new financial year. While he was cautiously optimistic about the UK, prospects for growth in Germany and France were not good, he said.

Despite the huge problems still facing the group, the shares have soared since being re-listed at 3p last May following a two-year suspension.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Guru Careers: Application Support Analyst / 1st Line Support

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Application Support Analyst / 1st L...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£45K - £55K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a full stack .NET D...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence