Hospitality Ireland presents a round-up of island of Ireland hotel news.
Dalata Agrees Extended Debt Facilities
In a statement published on its website, "Dalata Hotel Group said, Dalata Hotel Group plc ('Dalata' or the 'Group'), the largest hotel operator in Ireland with a growing presence in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce it has successfully agreed the extension of the Group's Debt Facilities (the 'Revised Facilities') with its banking partners, demonstrating the strength of the Group's financial position. In addition to extending the maturity of the Debt Facilities, the Revised Facilities agreement also provides additional flexibility as the business recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Extended Debt Facilities
"The Group has availed of its option to extend the maturity of its Debt Facilities by 12 months. The Group's Debt Facilities now consist of a €200 million term loan facility, with a maturity date of 26 October 2025 and a €364.4 million revolving credit facility ('RCF'): €304.9 million with a maturity date of 26 October 2025 and €59.5 million with a maturity date of 30 September 2023.
"The Group announced in July 2020 that previous covenants comprising Net Debt to EBITDA and Interest Cover would not be tested again until June 2022 ('the Previous Covenants'). These two covenants were replaced, until that date, by a Net Debt to Value covenant and a minimum liquidity test, whereby the Group must have a minimum of €50 million available to it in cash and/or an unutilised amount of the RCF.
"Under the Revised Facilities agreement announced today, the Previous Covenants will now not be tested until June 2023. The Net Debt to Value covenant and the minimum liquidity test will remain in place until that date.
"At 29 October 2021, the Group has cash and undrawn facilities of €303 million.
"Update on Trading
"The positive momentum since hotels re-opened has continued. Trading has been stronger than expected in September and October with the Group's hotels achieving occupancies for the two-month period of 60% in Dublin, 67% in Regional Ireland, 72% in London and 75% in Regional UK and Northern Ireland. The decrease in staycations following the summer period is being replaced by an uplift in demand from domestic corporates and project work. Domestic leisure demand at weekends continues to be strong across all regions. There has also been an uplift from the resumption of international visitors coming to Ireland.
"The Group continues to proactively manage costs as trade recovers and utilise available Government supports to protect employment. Adjusted EBITDA for July to October is expected to be approximately €47 million.
"In Ireland, COVID-19 restrictions on trade were further relaxed on 22 October although the full lifting of restrictions has been delayed by the Government in line with public health advice. The calendar of events for the final two months of the year in Ireland is improving and we are seeing increased enquiries at our hotels.
"Appointment of Chief Operations Officer
"Dalata also announces the appointment of Mr Conal O'Neill as Chief Operations Officer ('COO') effective 1 January 2022. This follows the announcement on 1 September 2021 that Stephen McNally, Deputy Chief Executive Officer is to retire.
"Mr O'Neill joined the Group in 2014 as Group Operations Manager before taking on the role of Group General Manager for Maldron Hotels in 2016. He has played a leading role in the operations team and has overseen the development of the Maldron brand during a period of significant growth and expansion. He has extensive operational experience handling the launch of new build hotels as well as the integration of new acquisition assets. More recently, he has also been heavily involved in developing the Group's ESG strategy. Prior to joining Dalata, Mr O'Neill headed up the Hotels Team at Ion Equity and before that spent 15 years with Jurys Doyle Hotel Group plc in both Ireland and the UK. He is a Fellow of the Irish Hospitality Institute and a graduate of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.
"Dermot Crowley, Dalata Hotel Group CEO, commented, 'I am delighted that we have reached agreement with our banking club to extend our facilities out to October 2025. This reflects the strength of our financial position and the quality of our relationships with our banking partners. Although trading has been better than expected over the last five months, we need to maintain financial flexibility given the uncertain trajectory of COVID-19 since March 2020. Against that backdrop, it is very positive that the banking club have also agreed to defer testing of the Net Debt to EBITDA and Interest Cover covenants until June 2023.
"'The ongoing support we have received from our banking partners, shareholders and institutional landlords, coupled with the welcome assistance from the Irish and UK Governments, has been critical in allowing us to protect the business and our employees during this time. Trade has surpassed our expectations over the last two months. As each segment of our customer base opens up, the recovery in demand has been very strong. We await the return of international corporate travel and the demand associated with large conferences. However, it is very encouraging to see international leisure visitors starting to return to Dublin as well as the continuing strength of the domestic corporate and leisure segments across both Ireland and the UK. Whilst still not back to pre-pandemic trading levels, it is good to be firmly established on the path to recovery.
"'It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Conal O'Neill as Group COO. Conal has played a crucial role within the Operations team since he joined Dalata in 2014 including through the most recent period of tremendous challenge for our industry. I look forward to continuing to work alongside Conal in his new position as COO as our business recovers and continues to deliver on our expansion plans.
"'Having assumed the role of CEO this week, I would like to take the opportunity to wish Pat McCann the best for his retirement and thank him for his leadership in creating and growing Dalata into the ambitious business it is today. I am excited about leading Dalata into the future and looking forward to meeting the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.'"
Dermot Crowley Commences Role As Dalata CEO; Pat McCann Retires From Dalata Board
The above news followed the publication of a separate statement on Datala's website in which the group said, "Dalata Hotel Group plc ('Dalata' or the 'Group' or the 'Company'), the largest hotel operator in Ireland with a growing presence in the United Kingdom, announces:
"Further to the announcement made on 2 March 2021, Dermot Crowley has succeeded Pat McCann as Chief Executive Officer, with effect from 1 November 2021.
"Pat McCann retired from the Board with effect from 31 October 2021, and his employment by the Company will cease on 31 December 2021. Payments made or to be made after his retirement as a director are disclosed on the Company website.
"John Hennessy, Group Chairman, commented, 'On behalf of the Board and the entire Group I would like to once again thank Pat for his immense contribution to Dalata since founding the Company in 2007. He has been instrumental in growing Dalata into the ambitious organisation that it is today. It has been a pleasure working with him since listing in 2014 and I wish him every success in the future.
"'I would also like to take this opportunity to wish Dermot well as he steps into the role of CEO. It is an exciting time for Dalata and the Board is confident in Dermot's ability to lead the Company into the next phase. We look forward to working with him in the period ahead.'"
Cathriona Hallahan And Carol Phelan To Be Appointed To Dalata Board Of Directors
Additionally, the above statements were published following the publication of another on Datala's website in which the group said, "Dalata Hotel Group plc ('Dalata' or the 'Group' or the 'Company'), the largest hotel operator in Ireland with a growing presence in the United Kingdom, announces changes to its board.
"As previously announced, the board is currently engaged in a planned refreshment of the Board's non-executive membership. This process is being undertaken on a phased basis, in the interests of the Group, in order to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and experience between board members and to ensure continuity in governance.
"As part of this process the board is pleased to announce that Ms Cathriona Hallahan will join the board as an independent non-executive director on 1 November 2021 and, in line with the plan, Mr Robert Dix, a non-executive director since February 2014, has informed the board of his intention to retire as a director and will leave the board at the conclusion of the 2022 AGM.
"Cathriona Hallahan recently retired as Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland after 35 years with the company, where she was responsible for driving Microsoft's commercial business on the island of Ireland. She represented the company in Ireland on all strategic policy, corporate affairs and communications issues, including overseeing many community, education and innovation programmes. Cathriona sits on several boards, including the UCD Advisory Board, Trinity Business School Advisory Board, and Keelings. She is a member of the International Women's Forum, the Institute of Directors, Institute of Accounting Technicians (IATI), a fellow of ACCA, and a fellow of the IMI. Cathriona is a qualified Executive Coach and is passionate about change management and leadership development.
"In addition, the board is pleased to announce that Ms Carol Phelan, who was appointed Group CFO on 1 July 2021, will join the board as an executive director on 1 January 2022.
"Carol Phelan joined the Company in 2014 and became Group Chief Financial Officer on 1 July 2021, leading the Group's finance function following Dermot Crowley's appointment as CEO Designate to succeed Pat McCann. She led the development of the financial reporting function through a period of rapid growth and expansion. She also led the refinancing of the Group's debt facilities in 2018 and has been centrally involved in maintaining the Group's financial strength and liquidity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to joining Dalata Ms Phelan held senior finance positions in Ion Equity and KPMG. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant.
"The Company will announce revised board committees in due course.
"John Hennessy, Group Chair, commented, 'I am delighted to welcome Cathriona and Carol to the Company's board.
"'Cathriona has a very successful career behind her in Microsoft. During her years there she has demonstrated exceptional leadership, and she has gained a wealth of experience that will be of significant benefit to Dalata. Her deep knowledge and experience in strategic thinking, communications, technology and finance will be particularly beneficial to the Group.
"'Carol has been in a leadership role in the Group's finance function for several years. She has played an essential and central part in the important financial initiatives undertaken by the Group, including in negotiations with our banking partners. She will bring a depth of knowledge of our business and financial expertise that will be very valuable to the board.
"'I am greatly looking forward to working with Cathriona and Carol on the board in the coming years.
"'Robert Dix has been a member of the board since the Company's IPO in 2014. He has served since then as Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, and has also spent time as a member of the Remuneration Committee, the Environmental, Social and Governance Committee and the Nomination Committee. The Group has benefited enormously from his expertise and wisdom in all of these roles. He has been a very valuable member of the board, and I wish to express my gratitude for all of the hard work and support he has given to the Group and the board. I wish him well for the future.'
"Additional disclosures pursuant to Euronext Dublin listing rule 6.1.66.
"Ms Hallahan was a director Dovaly Trading Limited for the twelve months preceding it being placed into creditors' voluntary liquidation in February 2006. The liquidation was finalised in May 2009 following payment of all creditors in full.
"There is no other further information to be disclosed under listing rule 6.1.66."
© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.