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Hastings Hotels posts record group profit of £6.2m for 2022

The Culloden, Grand Central and Europa hotels were Hastings' three biggest revenue drivers in 2022.

THE Hastings Hotels group recorded a pre-tax profit of £6.2 million last year, boosted by the recovery of the hospitality industry and a valuable share in Dublin’s five-star Merrion Hotel.

The family-owned business behind Belfast's Europa, Grand Central and Culloden hotels saw sales bounce back more than 50 per cent to £43.2m for the year ending October 31 2022.

The group’s finance director, Peter Gibson, said it was a record year for Hastings’ profits.

“This comes despite the significant headwinds that all businesses have faced during the year, including rising energy costs, inflation and the Omicron variant of Covid at the start of 2022,” he said.

The annual results follow a high profile number of weeks for the group, with US President Joe Biden using The Grand Central Hotel for his stopover in Belfast.

Hastings also accommodated a significant number of high profile dignitaries visiting Belfast to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

The latest annual results follow a challenging 2021, when the pandemic’s impact on the hotel trade left the group with bottom line losses of £794,138, despite receiving £6.3m of government support.

The 2021 trading period also saw significant change in the group, with the Slieve Donard Hotel sold to a US investment group for £40m and the company restructured internally.

The company divided its six hotels, including Ballygally Castle, the Stormont Hotel and the Everglades in Derry, into six separate trading entities.

The Europa Hotel was the biggest revenue driver last year, with a turnover of £12.6m for the year to October 2022, ahead of the Grand Central Hotel (£12.1m) and Culloden (£8.5m).

The Grand Central produced the greatest operating profit for the year (£857,109). But when interest payments and tax were factored in, only the Ballygally Castle Hotel generated a bottom line profit in the reporting period.

Media [id:3231398]US President Joe Biden, pictured on the top level of The Grand Central Hotel with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during his recent stay in Belfast.

Two other group companies, which provide services to the six hotels, recorded profitable years.

Income from other means, including a revaluation of property assets, plus a £1.8m dividend from Hastings’ 50 per cent share in the Merrion Hotel, were also considerable factors in making 2022 a record profitable year for the group.

The Merrion Hotel joint venture had registered a loss of just under £300,000 in 2021.

Even with the disposal of the Slieve Donard Hotel, the grouped accounts for Hastings Hotels show a significantly reduced workforce from 2020.

The group averaged 802 staff in 2022, a reduction of around 360 people in two years.

Last year alone saw Hastings’ part-time workforce fall by 138 people.

Hastings has also continued to invest in its hotels. The group recently marked the completion of a £10m renovation programme of the Europa, with another £250,000 invested in the spa at the Culloden.

In January 2022, Hastings Hotels named James McGinn as its new managing director, with Howard Hastings taking on the role of group chairman.