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Gleneagles hotel records operating loss

16 April 10 10:18 GMT

One of Scotland's most famous hotels recorded its first operating loss in a decade last year, figures have shown.

Gleneagles Hotel, owned by drinks giant Diageo, made an operating loss of £554,000 in the year to 30 June 2009.

The five-star Perthshire hotel, which was the venue for the G8 summit in 2005, is set to host the Ryder Cup golf tournament in 2014.

The loss is thought to stem from a drop in the number of business customers holding corporate events.

The figures follow a slump in recent years in operating profits for the hotel, near Auchterarder, which stood at £5.5m in 2003-4 but fell to £1m in 2007-8.

Peter Lederer, the hotel's chairman and highest-paid director, saw his pay package drop from £287,000 in 2008 to £209,000 last year after his bonus was cut because the company failed to meet its financial targets.

Accounts filed at Companies House revealed turnover at Gleneagles fell by 7% to £35.6m, as customers spent less money at the 232-room hotel, which has held a full five red-star rating from the AA since 1986.

However, finance director David Kemp said the hotel had managed to pay for all its rolling refurbishment scheme, despite the operating loss, which he stressed had accounted for just 1.5% of turnover.

He said the number of individual leisure customers visiting the hotel had held steady.

Staffing numbers also increased from 676 in 2008 to 682 last year.

'Heavy discounting'

Mr Kemp said: "We've found this recession has been the deepest in living memory and has had a disproportionately negative impact on the upscale hotel sector.

"Rather than heavy discounting of our room rates, we've added extra things into packages for guests, such as upgrading their rooms or throwing in golf or other activities on site."

He added: "Trading continues to be challenging this year, but we're hoping to see an upturn by the end of 2010."

Gleneagles made a pre-tax profit of £2.5m after receiving interest on loans made to other companies within the Diageo group.

Gleneagles was built in 1924 by the Caledonian Railway Company and was nationalised with the rest of the railway system in 1948.

The hotel was re-privatised in 1981 and bought by distiller Bell's in the mid-1980s, before passing into the hands of Diageo in 1997, following the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan.

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