Thursday 1st May 2003 11:24
Thistle holds firm against bid
Thistle Hotels this week urged its shareholders to continue to reject the £555m hostile bid submitted by majority shareholder BIL.
Chairman David Newbigging described the offer, which values Thistle at 115p per share, as "wholly inadequate". BIL has two weeks in which to increase its offer.
Meanwhile, attempts by Orb Estates to sell 37 Thistle hotels to Newcastle tycoon Allan Rankin for £750m have come unstuck.
Orb has been trying to sell the hotels to Rankin for weeks in an attempt to pay off creditors. Sources said Rankin was no longer in the running.
An announcement on the eventual buyer for the hotels is expected this month.
De Vere stung by £9.3m VAT demand
Forecast full-year profits of £40m at hotel group De Vere are likely to be slashed by as much as 25% following a ruling from a VAT tribunal.
De Vere is likely to have to pay £9.3m in VAT for the year to 29 September because a subsidiary treated income from golf and leisure subscriptions between April 1997 and December 1999 as exempt from VAT.
The group, which has 56 days from 15 April to lodge an appeal, has said it will make provisions for this payment, which it will treat as an exceptional item.
Profits boost for Punch
Britain's second biggest pub company, Punch Taverns, has delivered strong maiden interim results following the announcement last week that it was to acquire another 13 pubs from Western Castle for £3.9m.
It brings the total number of tenanted and leased pubs in the estate to 4,517, and the number of pubs acquired since August 2002 to 245, at a cost of £92m.
Punch, which was floated last May, reported pre-tax profits up by 17% to £55.6m for the 28 weeks to 1 March 2003, with group turnover up by 6% to £218m. Group operating profit was up by 9% to £115m.
Chief executive Giles Thorley said that the results exceeded expectations and were testament to the quality of the estate and to the group's business strategy of organic development coupled with a steady flow of acquisitions.
Matthews makes move into Ottawa
Terry Matthews, owner of the Celtic Manor, is pumping millions of pounds into a 276-bedroom hotel in Canada.
Matthews, winner of the Independent Hotel of the Year Catey last year, invested £100m in the Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales, to transform it into a 400-bedroom luxury resort with a golf course.
The new-build Brookstreet Hotel, opening in Ottawa in June, will have 16,000sq ft of meeting space, a ballroom, golf course, tennis courts and a spa.