Hotel group making six-figure losses claims ‘strong performance’

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New Forest hotels
New Forest Hotels’ head office is at the Forest Lodge Hotel in Lyndhurst

A HOSPITALITY group which owns a portfolio of New Forest venues, including the luxury Burley Manor hotel, has claimed “strong performance” despite making six-figure losses three years running.

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New Forest Hotels’ finances were highlighted after it was threatened with being struck off from national business register Companies House for failing to submit its 2018 accounts on time.

The latest available report, made up to 31st December 2017, showed pre-tax losses of £388,776 in 2017 and £238,274 in 2016.

The previous year’s accounts showed a loss of £464,645, and in 2014 it made a pre-tax profit of £13,623.

The group’s flagship venue is the four-star, 40-bedroom Burley Manor, in which it has heavily invested since buying in 2015. Last month it won the Best Countryside Hotel honour at the 2020 Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence.

New Forest Hotels
Burley Manor in Ringwood Road, Burley

It also owns the Bartley Lodge Hotel near Lyndhurst; the Beaulieu Hotel and the Drift Inn, both near Beaulieu; the Forest Lodge Hotel in Lyndhurst; and Moorhill House Hotel in Burley.

The firm was incorporated in July 1981 but was made the subject of an active compulsory strike-off order by Companies House after missing the deadline for its accounts at the end of September.

Finance director Nathan Pick told the A&T that New Forest Hotels had since been granted a three-month extension. The strike-off order was discontinued on Wednesday.

Mr Pick said: “Following a standard request to Companies House for an extension in submitting our 2018 accounts, Companies House granted a three-month extension and we have since been in contact with regards to the imminent removal of first-strike action.

“Sales in the last financial year grew by 5% to £9.1m while we are forecasting a 2% growth in sales this financial year, driven by strong performance and new business wins despite challenging market conditions.”

He added: “Celebrating 31 years in business, we are continuing to invest in our hotels and restaurants across the collection which, of course, reduces profitability to our shareholders but remains a priority as part of our future growth plans.

“There’s even exciting new accommodation plans for 2020.”

The 2017 accounts said overhead costs were increasing along with pensions, the minimum wage bill and recruitment fees which “add to the challenges of keeping costs under control”.

But it added: “After making enquiries the directors have a reasonable expectation that the company have adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future.”

One of the main potential risks was the uncertain economic climate in southern England, it said, although the increased popularity of holidaying in the UK was a positive influence.

In January 2017 the board took the step of issuing a solvency statement to declare they could pay their debts.

According to Companies House, New Forest Hotels’ current directors are MD Garry Baldwin, chair Nizam Shammas, finance director Mr Pick, and non-executive directors Gaby Bardawil, who is Lebanese, and Michael Papadopolos, who lives in Cyprus.

Outstanding charges owed by the group include a mortgage on Burley Manor with HSBC bank and another with the Bank of Beirut (UK) Ltd for Bartley Lodge Hotel.

The company said it runs a combined 182 bedrooms across the national park from its head office at the Forest Lodge Hotel.

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