One of the hotels in the collapsed business empire of Aberdeen-based entrepreneurial duo Ivor Finnie and Alan Wallace has been sold by administrators for £17.7million.
The Holiday Inn Express in Edinburgh city centre was acquired by Middlesex-based International Hotel Properties, restructuring and insolvency specialist FRP Advisory said yesterday.
Two north-east hotels that were owned by the European Development Company (EDC) – controlled by Mr Finnie and Mr Wallace – have yet to go on the market but FRP Advisory said there had been an “encouraging number” of inquiries.
A spokesman for the joint administrators, Iain Fraser and Tom MacLennan, said the Holiday Inn at Westhill and a Holiday Inn Express in Chapel Street, Aberdeen, would go up for sale soon.
All three hotels operated under franchise agreements with InterContinental Hotels Group, the company behind the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands.
According to FRP Advisory, EDC and its subsidiaries owed about £32million, including £26million to lenders Santander UK and LaSalle Investment Management.
Trade creditors including Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council – owed £1,248.60 and £53,240 respectively – were due just over £1million.
The EDC businesses collapsed into administration in November, with all three hotels continuing to trade as normal since then.
At the time of FRP Advisory’s appointment, the hotels employed 117 staff in the two north-east locations and a further 19 at the Edinburgh hotel.
Announcing the sale of the 161-bedroom Edinburgh hotel, Mr Fraser said: “The deal secures the future of an important hotel in the Edinburgh hospitality market.
“We are continuing to operate the two hotels in Aberdeen (and Westhill) … and will shortly be marketing these businesses for sale.
“Trade has been firm over the festive period and the administration of EDC represents a rare opportunity to acquire quality hotels … in busy locations.”
In a separate administration, a business turnaround firm AlixPartners is mulling options for the assets of other businesses that were controlled by Mr Finnie and Mr Wallace.
Aberdeen’s Albyn restaurant and Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels next to Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre continue to trade but are not currently on the market, a spokeswoman for AlixPartners said yesterday, adding: “We are still reviewing the sales strategy.
“There have been a handful of redundancies to re-align income to expenditure, however, I do not have specific numbers.”
Statements lodged at Companies House show the three businesses now being managed by AlixPartners – European Development Company (Bridge of Don Hotels), European Development Holdings and Verase – had debts totalling tens of millions of pounds when they plunged into administration in September.