Ernst & Young has been appointed
administrator of Von Essen Hotels. The company collapsed 20 April with debts of
more than £250m.
The group’s crown jewels include country
house properties such as Seaham Hall the Royal Crescent in Bath, Amblerley Castle in West Sussex, Ston Easton
Park and perhaps most famously Cliveden in Berkshire, which are likely to
attract serious bidding interest.
The administration was sparked on the
behest of Barclays and Lloyds banks after Von Essen failed to make interest
payments on £250m of borrowings.
An Ernst & Young spokesman said the
administration affected the main holding company, but that the 28 hotels
themselves were not in administration.
The company’s collapse follows attempts to
find an outside investor to cut debts and fund an expansion programme.
The Times newspaper’s business analyst
Dominic Walsh said Von Essen’s founder Andrew Davis had won credit for turning
the company around and in 2009 Von Essen won AA Hotel Group of the Year.
“But in recent months, the group had
reverted to some of its bad habits. While there is no doubting the quality of
Mr Davis’s eye for a fine country house, the reality is that such hotels are
better off run as individual gems,” said Walsh.
CN contacted Von Essen Hotels’ PR company 21 April to be told they had
no official statement ready.
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