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Puma in danger of becoming hunted hotel species

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Hinckley Barcelo Puma Hotels, which owns 20 regional hotels, is coming under pressure on the financial markets after auditors Deloitte expressed doubts over its ability to continue as an ongoing concern.

Spanish hotel operator the Barcelo Group had paid a £20m termination fee in April to discontinue its lease agreement in what was widely perceived as a clash over rent.

The chain’s portfolio includes the 70-room Lygon Arms in Broadway, Hinckley Island (pictured) and the 180-room Imperial Hotel in Blackpool.

Puma has since taken on the management of the portfolio inhouse under the old Paramount name, but since written down the value of the hotels from £458.4m to £213.5m.

Half-year results released on 14 September revealed hotel revenues and occupancies fell slightly.

Financial analysts say the problem for the new management team is that the latest valuation is below the level of Puma’s borrowings of £330m, most provided by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo-Irish Bank).

Howard Shore, Chairman of Shore Capital, founded the original hotel business, then called Dawnay Shore Hotels, eight years ago, in a joint venture with Dawnay Day. Dawnay Day subsequently went bust and shares in the holding company that now owns 49.9 per cent of Puma, have fallen 98 per cent in the past year.
 
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