West Highland businessman Paddy Crerar has ditched plans to sell an entire portfolio of hotels, mostly in the north and north-east, after a deal collapsed in a bumper year for Scottish tourism.
But some of them could yet be offloaded as he aims to go upmarket in his quest for more business.
Oban-born Mr Crerar is chief executive of Edinburgh-based Crerar Hotel Group (CHG), which last year struck a deal to dispose of its 12 hotels in Scotland and another in Yorkshire to FICO Castle – a UK subsidiary of Thai company FICO Corporation.
But the sale fell through, with CHG breaking off talks because of “FICO Castle’s failure to deliver to contract”.
The hotel portfolio includes the Ben Wyvis Hotel in Strathpeffer, Craiglynne Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey, Deeside Inn at Ballater, Eight Acres Hotel and Leisure Club in Elgin, Glencoe Inn & Gathering in Glencoe, Golf View Hotel & Spa in Nairn, Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa in Craignure, Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa in Inveraray, Oban Bay Hotel & Spa and Thainstone House, near Inverurie.
Last year’s near sale to FICO involved a “difficult personal decision”, Mr Crerar said, adding there were other better offers. “I took some time to reflect and decided not to sell … but shift our portfolio into a much higher bracket,” he said.
It is expected hotels not matching the desired image will be sold, raising cash to invest in the rest of the chain.
CHC accounts for the year to March 25, 2017, show pre-tax profits rose to £844,995, from £831,125 previously, on turnover that was up by more than 8% to £27.4million.