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Crieff Hydro makes £265k profit in "tough year"

Shrinking of Scottish oil and gas sector has impacted conference business at Crieff Hydro hotel group

Pictured: Crieff Hydro hotel

Crieff Hydro hotel group turned over £24.3 million and made a pre-tax profit of £265k last year, according to new accounts.

The oldest registered trading company in Scotland says strong performance combined with a year of transition for the hotel group's Peebles hotels resulted in consolidated revenue of £24.3 million and profit before tax of £265,048.

Accounts for the year ended 29 February show a steady performance against tough trading conditions for the sector generally. Significant investment has continued, with £1.8m spent in the group's Peebles hotels and £900k in the Crieff hotels.

Stephen Leckie, CEO of Crieff Hydro, said: "This was a tough year for the industry generally with the shrinking of the oil and gas sector, which may seem a long time ago now, impacting on conferencing business and the strength of the pound.

"Despite this, Crieff Hydro and Murraypark delivered revenues of £19.9m and an operating profit up 6 per cent on last year of £877,554. This was achieved through a targeted marketing campaign and focussed cost control as we knew from the start that Peebles would not be contributing this financial year.” 

Revenue for the Peebles hotels was £4.2m down 3.7 per cent on last year.

"In Peebles, this was a year of transition”, added Leckie. “Both hotels were closed for a combined period of 17 weeks at the start of 2016 to refurbish their public areas, resulting in a creative new look and feel but with an impact on revenue. We've also been refurbishing bedrooms at Peebles Hydro with nearly half now benefiting from a complete makeover and we're doing many more in the coming year.

"Behind the scenes we've invested significantly to modernise and improve the heating, water supply, electrics and fire alarm system. We've also installed a new biomass boiler to replace the steam powered museum piece that's been there for many years and also reduce our impact on the environment. This has taken its toll on profits, resulting in an operating loss of £704k.

"So what are we doing about it? New menus, bars and activities are now in place at both Peebles properties - including a tempting Gin Palace offering over 100 varieties - and we plan to invest a further £1.1m this year, mainly on bedrooms and public areas. We always knew we were investing for the long term when we bought the two hotels in 2014 and remain confident they'll prove to be an excellent long-term acquisition. Indeed, this year is looking good and our future bookings pipeline is encouraging too."

Freedom Hotels (Management) Limited received management fees for The Yorkshire Hotel in Harrogate, The Ballachulish Hotel, The Isles of Glencoe Hotel, and The Oban Caledonian Hotel. Crieff Hydro bought The Ballachulish Hotel and The Isles of Glencoe Hotel in June 2016 and The Oban Caledonian Hotel was sold to new owners in September 2016.

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