Von Essen chairman Andrew Davis says the company has the potential to double the number of hotels in its estate after seeing pre-tax profits rise by a quarter in the past year.
Speaking in the company’s annual report for 2008, Davis said there was ‘scope’ to double the 27-strong portfolio despite the challenging financial climate.
“For any property to be considered for acquisition it has to meet stringent criteria and fit with the brand identity of the hotels already in the collection,” he said.
“Given the current economic climate these standards are even stricter, but I and my management team are diligently monitoring the market for material corporate acquisition opportunities.”
The private company, which bought Callow Hall in Derbyshire (pictured) last year, saw pre-tax profits rise 24 per cent to £60.7m in †the year ending December 31 2008. Turnover was £70.5m and net profit was £10.8m.
Although Davis said the company was looking to expand, so far only one new hotel – Hotel Verta in London – is slated to open in 2009.
As well as acquiring Callow Hall in 2008, Von Essen spent several million pounds refurbishing some of its properties and also bought the herbal retailer Culpeper.
Von Essen finance director Stephanie Gibbs said the company had also invested heavily in IT systems and in staff financial and management training.
Other businesses owned by Davis - von Essen Aviation, PremiAir Aviation Group and the London Heliport Limited - were not included in the annual report.