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Bury St Edmunds/ Colchester: 130 jobs saved by sale of Quality Hotel sites by administrators of owners Barinbrook

17:55 25 March 2014

The Quality Hotel in Bury St Edmunds, which has previously operated under the Ramada and Butterfly brands.

The Quality Hotel in Bury St Edmunds, which has previously operated under the Ramada and Butterfly brands.

More than 130 jobs have been saved with the sale of five hotels owned by Barinbrook Ltd, which went into administration last month.

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The three-star Quality Hotel-branded properties in Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, King’s Lynn and Peterborough, together with the four-star Clarion Collection Cromwell Hotel in Stevenage, were operated by Barinbrook on a leasehold basis, with the freehold owned by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) following a previous spell in administration.

Working with the Barinbrook administrators, from restructuring services firm Zolfo Cooper, RBS negotiated the acquisition of the hotels’ fixtures and fittings by Scottish-based property company West Register and the surrender of the leases.

The management of the five hotels, which have a total of 133 employees, will now be taken over by Jupiter Hotels, a 50:50 joint venture between RBS and property investment group Patron Capital. RBS said that, as well as saving jobs, the rescue would allow the hotels to honour bookings for 67 events, including a number of weddings, for which deposits had been taken or advance payment made.

Helen Gordon, global head of RBS Real Estate Asset Management, said: “We believe that this agreement represents the best possible outcome for the hotels and their staff, as they are able to continue trading and leverage both RBS and Jupiter’s expertise in the hospitality sector.

“We are also very pleased that our quick action has allowed us to honour a number of bookings for important and often once in a lifetime events such as weddings, which had already been paid for and were therefore at risk.

“Furthermore, we have been able to increase Jupiter Hotels’ exposure to midscale hotels as we look to return these businesses to profitability, and establish Jupiter as a market leader in this segment.”

Shane Harris, chief executive of Jupiter Hotels, added: “The addition of these five new hotels is a positive move for us, representing an increase of almost 20% in the size of our portfolio and establishing us as a multi brand leader in the midscale hotel segment.

“These management contracts enable us to establish a strong foothold in East Anglia, one of the UK’s fastest growing regional economies after London and the South East.

“We are committed to developing the Jupiter Hotels portfolio in the UK. Winning management contracts is a key part of our development strategy. We have a proven track record of successfully managing and operating hotels across the country and this expertise has been recognised by the parties who we’ve entered into agreements with.”

Nick Cropper, Peter Holder and Anne O’Keefe, partners at Zolfo Cooper, were appointed as administrators of Barinbrook previously known as Akkeron Hotels on February 26.

Mr Cropper said today: “We are delighted that a sale of these five hotels has been achieved and would like to thank the staff for their support and professionalism during this process.”

A sixth hotel operated by Barinbrook, the Himley Country Hotel at Dudley, was sold separately as a going concern on February 28, saving a further 42 jobs. All six hotels, which involve a total of 381 rooms, have continued to trade normally during their period under administration.

The same partners at Zolfo Cooper were also appoinited joint administrators of an associated company, Barinbrook (Central) Ltd, which owns the 71-bedroom Best Western Rockingham Forest Hotel in Corby. It too is trading as usual while efforts continue to find a buyer.

All seven hotels were acquired, either leasehold or freehold, by Akkeron Hotels in 2011 from the administrators of Butterfly Hotels Ltd and Crowne Hotels Ltd.

At that time, the hotels in Bury, Colchester, King’s Lynn, Peterborough and Stevenage were operating under the Ramada brand while Himley Hall was then operating as a Best Western hotel, together with the Rockingham Forest Hotel.

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