Old Course Hotel owner hails higher occupancy

The Old Course Hotel pictured during July's Senior Open Championship.
The Old Course Hotel pictured during July's Senior Open Championship.

The owner of the Old Course Hotel who is behind the Hamilton Grand development in St Andrews saw revenues grow by more than 30% but their losses increase last year.

The Old Course Limited, which also operates the Duke’s golf course in the Fife town, increased its turnover by £5.6 million to £23.7m for the year ending December 31 2017.

The annual accounts show the firm recorded a pre-tax loss of £4.2m against a £834,000 deficit in 2016.

In his strategic report, director Herbert Kohler put the increased turnover down to a higher hotel occupancy rate.

He said: “The underlying trading revenue of the hotel, golf resort and spa has increased due to the increase in the hotel’s occupancy rates and number of hotel guests, with increased luxury apartment sales in the year adding to the overall increase in revenue of 31%.

“A major refurbishment closed the hotel for three and a half months from January 2017 whilst the works were completed.

“The directors have continued to pursue opportunities to maximise the revenue generating potential of assets held by the company.”

The Old Course Limited is 99.8% owned by Kohler Scotland Limited, a subsidiary of American-based Kohler Co. The R&A own the remaining 0.2%.

Amounts owed to group undertakings include a loan of £66.4m.

Staff numbers rose by 11 to 408 during the year — with 372 classed as working within the hotel operation and 36 administration staff.

Wisconsin-based Mr Kohler said the uncertainty surrounding Brexit presented a risk in terms of selling the Hamilton Grand apartments, which carry seven-figure price tags.

He added: “Competitive pressure in the UK and international resort markets are continuing risks for the company, particularly against the backdrop of the current economic climate.

“The company manages these risks by investing in superior quality products and services in an effort to distinguish itself from its competitors.

“The directors are investing in room refurbishment and spa expansion to ensure that we maintain our competitive advantage.

“The uncertainty surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU will present a risk in the selling of apartments by the company in 2018 and beyond.

“The weakening pound presents a risk of increasing costs to the company but could also stimulate overseas tourist numbers visiting the UK.”

rmclaren@thecourier.co.uk

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