Not for sale: Gary Davis pledges 12 new Malmaison and Hotel du Vin hotels in three years

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hotel du vin, Hotel

Not for sale: Gary Davis, chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, has denied reports the businesses could be sold following the administration of MWB Group Holdings
Not for sale: Gary Davis, chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, has denied reports the businesses could be sold following the administration of MWB Group Holdings
Gary Davis, chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel Du Vin, has committed to opening 12 new hotels in the next three years as he denied reports the businesses are up for sale following the administration of MWB Group Holdings.

Following last week's announcement that MWB Group Holdings intended to appoint two insolvency practitioners at Deloitte as administrators of the business,​ there had been fears Deloitte would look to sell the hotels given MWB's perceived position as parent company to Malmaison and Hotel du Vin.

Most successful

"From our end there is no impact," said Davis, telling BigHospitality earlier today that it was 'business as usual'.

The chief executive made clear MWB Group Holdings was not the sole shareholder of Malmaison Holdings, the firm which owns the two brands. 

He also said the troubled company no longer had any economic or financial interest in the hotel business and could not dictate the future operational direction.

As such, neither MWB nor the administrators, who have made clear the hotels are unaffected by the company's woes, have the ability to sell the hotel business or individual properties.

"We are a separate trading company – our cash, funding and banking is totally separate from MWB so there is no effect.

"In fact our business has never been stronger. We are probably one of the most successful hotel operators in the UK and we continue to invest in our hotels and expand our business," he continued.

The hotelier revealed the first four months of the current financial year (beginning in July) had seen like-for-like profit growth of £1.5m.

Outperform

Davis was bullish in his predictions for the two well-known hotel brands, declaring his intention to use new funding to open 12 properties over the next three years.

Expansion is expected to begin next July with the planned launch of a Malmaison venue in Dundee.​ 

"People are looking at us as one of the real successes in the UK hospitality industry. We have developers and funders looking at us and wanting to do deals with us constantly.

"We are brands that people look at and say, ‘if that brand was on my hotel and it was refurbished, it would outperform the market’ which we generally do across the country," he said.

The former De Vere Village chief executive revealed a deal had been signed to bring St Andrews Golf Hotel into the Hotel du Vin fold, with Stratford-upon-Avon, then possibly Oxford, next on the list for HDV.

Davis also expressed a desire to take the Hotel du Vin brand into the capital, while explaining Bristol and York were both target cities for Malmaison.

Last year Malmaison concluded sale and leaseback agreements for five hotels and completed a round of refinancing to reduce its debt,​ however Davis told BigHospitality his intention was now to increase the owned estate, not reduce it further.

Investment and expansion will focus on both brands equally with the team also considering management agreements and some long leaseholds.

Future impact

Distancing himself from comments made by his predecessor Robert Cook on the future of hotel F&B,​ Davis said he would not be looking to introduce new restaurant or bar concepts within either business and would instead focus on improving the current situation.

He did reveal, however, that a new bar was planned in properties in both Liverpool and Birmingham with new restaurants on the horizon in Manchester and London.

Davis expressed disappointment at the confusion caused by the trouble at MWB Group Holdings but said he was getting regular updates on the situation and had been aware of the problems before he took up post in January.

"One of the reasons that I was approached was because of certain issues within the business that needed sorting out. The operations and the profitability of the hotel group were, I think, under-performing and I think they wanted somebody to come in and re-organise and re-focus.

"My appointment was always (with the) understanding that MWB had certain issues and that was one of my key issues – to make sure that wouldn’t impact the future of our businesses," he concluded, saying it was unclear what role Eric Sanderson, MWB chairman and chair of the hotel's board, would now have with the hotel business.

Related topics: Business, People, Hotels, Venues

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