Category Archives: UK Finance Case Studies

Hotel Business Recovery – Devon Country Inn

These “new to trade” owner operators had regrettably encountered poor trading conditions since they acquired their Country Inn some 18 months previously.

The Objective

The hoteliers made contact with us via our web site as they were encountering difficulties meeting their monthly mortgage repayments and their lender was unable to grant them any further flexibility and were in the process of calling in their loan. A hotel business recovery plan was required to provide a hotel insolvency solution.

The Solution

After contacting and meeting with their lender, Stewart Hindley & Partners agreed to undertake, on behalf of our clients, a comprehensive business review which identified that their overheads, particularly wages, were excessive and that they were trading whilst insolvent. To resolve this situation we implemented the following:

  • an immediate reduction in wages
  • identified the need for improvement in gross margins on food and beverage
  • a web based marketing strategy to improve room revenue attainment

The Results

A full hotel business recovery. We were able to demonstrate to their lenders that our clients could continue to trade the business and meet the mortgage arrears and future payments.

Client Comments

“We were in over our heads and thought that running a Country Inn was similar to our previous care home business. While the lender was flexible there is no doubt in our minds that they would have repossessed our property if we hadn’t had the support form Stewart Hindley & Partners.

Stewart Hindley & Partners continues to offer us advice and support to ensure we don’t get into the same predicament again!”

If you would like to know more about our hotel business recovery services, please email us for further information.

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Hotel finance case study – Derbyshire

The Objective

Chris & Zoe Hipwell planed to relocate back to the UK after 25 years in Los Angeles; they were referred by their commercial agent to Stuart Hindley & Partners as specialists in the hotel finance sector. Working with Stuart Hindley & Partners, they then searched for a boutique hotel that met their requirements. Most importantly it had to be one that was fundable, as Chris & Zoe had no current UK credit history.

The Solution

Even whilst Chris & Zoe where still residing in Los Angeles, After securing a decision in-principle Hindley and Partners was able to:

  • Help identify Hodgkinsons Hotel and Restaurant in the Peak District as a suitable property
  • Secure a decision in principle from a leading commercial lender, finding one that specialised in British Expats wishing to return to the UK to purchase hospitality businesses
  • Source long term finance options based on Chris & Zoe being “new to trade” operators.

The Result

A hotel loan was secured on advantageous terms which allowed for a degree of flexibility whilst they became familiar with the trade. This ensured they were able to meet their loan commitments to the lender and allowed them to concentrate on developing their trade and establish the business going forward.

Comments

Stewart Hindley & Partners dealt with every aspect of the debt and transaction which included the valuation report and agreement of the goodwill and fixtures and fittings apportionment, to maximize our SDLT allowance, whilst we where still living in Los Angeles.

All that was required of us was to meet the lender on our return to the UK and sign on the dotted line! We can’t thank them enough, as it was thoroughly professional process which allowed us to concentrate on relocating back to the UK.

Chris & Zoe Hipwell
Hodgkinsons Hotel & Restaurant

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Commercial mortgage case study – Inn@West End

The Objective

  • Gerry Price, the landlord of the Inn @ West End, a very successful destination pub and dining establishment, wished to purchase the freehold of the concern from Enterprise Inns. Gerry had been an Enterprise tenant for over 10 years and had developed the trade substantially over the years and a consequence the monthly rent was in his own words more than a commercial mortgage.
  • Gerry had the choice of buying a freehold concern elsewhere, or consolidating on the trade he had developed by approaching Enterprise to purchase the freehold. Enterprise were receptive to the latter approach, providing the deal could be finalised and completed within 6 weeks prior to Enterprise’s year end.

The Solution

  • Given the strength of the Inn @ West End’s trading performance and given his proven operator status, debt was offered by several commercial property lenders on varying terms and incentives.
  • Additional facilities were also sought to provide for the development of the trade within the principle facility offered; with limited conditions and covenants.

The Result

The debt offered enabled Gerry to make an offer (which was subsequently accepted) for the freehold on exceptionally favorable terms, with the added benefit of the “cash back” incentive under the Government’s Funding for Lending Scheme.

Comments

Given the general attitude of many High Street lenders I was despondent that we could raise debt in our own right, even with a proven and successful track record. We contacted Stewart Hindley & Partners who steered us through the complexities of commercial property finance in the pub a sector where lenders are risk adverse with limited funds available.

The key to securing the right level of debt was to establish the market value from Enterprise’s and our own prospective, As Stewart Hindley are know to al the lenders panel valuers a desk top opinion was quickly sort which provided the base line for our negotiations and debt requirement which could be serviced from the exiting trade.

Without this invaluable advice we would have either paid a premium over market value for the freehold which would have resulted in a higher deposit requirement leaving us dependant on additional borrowings from other sources to meet the balance required to purchase the freehold.

Stewart Hindley & Partners cut to the chase without cutting corners to secure the debt within the timescales required.

Gerry Price
Inn @ West End

http://www.the-inn.co.uk

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Guesthouse finance case study – Ouse Bridge

With a stunning position by the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake Bassenthwaite, Ouse Bridge House is an elegant Edwardian house built in the traditional Lakeland style. The residence, built originally as a private house, has been taking in guests for many years during which time its reputation as a charming, establishment full of character has been truly sealed. A superbly tranquil location for the serious walker, or the tourist, makes Ouse Bridge House an ideal place to stay for the many thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the Lake District over an ever widening tourist season.

The Objective

Both the purchasers wanted to secure a true lifestyle business away from the hustle and bustle of London and the Home Counties. To pursue that aim, they researched the market for small hotels and guest houses and bed and breakfast businesses which, by the virtue of the trade, would also allow them time to engage in their passion for outdoor pursuits.

Despite successful careers in their respective occupations and capital for a deposit they were turned down by all the major lenders due to their inexperience in the hospitality sector. The challenge was to secure a bank who had an appetite to lend to new-to-trade operators in a depressed market, where banking sentiment was at an all time low.

The Solution

After several phone calls discussing the merits of the properties that could service debt, an initial meeting with the Stewart Hindley team ensured a real understanding of their financing requirements and analysed the advantages and disadvantages of the different guesthouse mortgage options that would be available to them, given their circumstances.

Stewart Hindley & Partners’ track record in guesthouse finance, were able to provide un-paralleled access to prime lenders specialising in Lake District properties. This ensured that the new owners of the Ouse Bridge House Hotel identified a funding solution that was to meet their immediate and future requirements.

The Results

A decision in-principle credit line, subject to offer and valuation, was secured in advance of our clients offering on a particular property. Armed with the knowledge that the finance was in place at the appropriate level to conclude the deal, our clients were able to secure their purchase. The Stewart Hindley team compiled:

  • a business and marketing plan
  • revenue and cash flow projections
  • along with all the other supporting documentation required for this debt-raising exercise

The result was that the application was approved by the bank’s credit team.

Comments

We selected Stewart Hindley & Partners to advise us after being rejected by several banks because we were new-to-trade operators and had previously unrelated career experience.

We were more than pleased with the results because from the outset. We received a precise and concise assessment of the level of borrowing we could secure and service, against a number of properties, before placing an offer on Ouse Bridge House. Because the debt was already approved and in place, we were in a position to negotiate with the vendors to achieve the best guesthouse mortgage deal.

Claire & Stephan Shepherd

External links
Ouse Bridge Hotel & Guesthouse

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Guesthouse finance case study-Radcliffe

The Radcliffe is a charming 17th century property in a terrace of other period buildings. Some of the rooms have wonderful views out over open countryside an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty adjacent to the Forest of Dean and between the Black Mountains, the Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds.

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Hotel finance – Business Recovery case study – Woodlands Lodge

The Objective

Rob and Imogene Anglaret, both of whom worked in the City of London, had a life long ambition to purchase a hotel in the New Forest. They identified the Woodlands Lodge as being perfect for their requirements. Woodlands Lodge had been on the market for a number of years and due to its declining profitability represented a hotel funding challenge (even for a proven operator, let alone first time operators) where new debt can’t be adequately serviced for the trading profit.

The Solution

Stewart Hindley & Partners prepared projections for a three year period going forward, to offer a business recovery solution. This required a restructuring of the financials to represent industry norms and meetings with several lenders to prove that the business could meet debt criteria under a “fair and maintainable trade concept.

The Result

  • hotel loan was secured on advantageous terms (considering that Rob & Imogene were new-to-trade operators) on the basis that the business improved upon its profitability by reducing excessive overheads and through revenue development.
  • Since the Anglarets acquired the business they have successfully returned the business to profitability and have significantly improved the trade and the general appeal of the hotel to existing and prospective guests.

Comments

Stewart Hindley & Partners invested a great deal of time and resources in securing this debt; when we approached our own bank they agreed in-principle, but then declined on the basis of the hotel’s profitability and that as unproven operators we may not have the wherewithal to activate a [business recovery]

Stewart Hindley & Partners secured offers from two commercial property lenders allowing us to make a clear business choice and negotiate the best deal.

Stewart Hindley also secured a residential mortgage on our behalf on the adjacent house to the hotel.
They dealt with every aspect of these transactions, which included the valuation report and agreement of the goodwill and fixtures and fittings apportionment, and the “Share Purchase Agreement” which in itself was complex and required a full and comprehensive understanding of taxation and allowances to ensure our best interests were met for the future.

Rob & Imogene Anglaret
Woodlands Lodge Hotel

http://www.woodlands-lodge.co.uk

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Commercial property lending case study – Rivenhall

The Objective

Mark Venkatasami a proven health-care operator, wished to diversify into the hotel sector to provide additional health-care related services and conference facilities rather than hiring these facilities from nearby hotels and conference venues, he decided that a hotel would offer synergy with his existing business interests.

Mark offered on the Rivenhall Hotel and Spa which was accepted by the joint administrators, subject to hotel finance.

The Solution

  • As the concern was in administration, no accounts or warranties could be offered. As a consequence, securing hotel lending would be on a closed value (bricks & mortar), rather than off open market value, which would have required a high deposit.
  • As the disparity between open and closed values was substantial, the commercial property lenders agreed to take a charge over other assets to secure the debt quantum required to proceed with purchase, without the need for personal guarantees.

The Result

The hotel finance deal offered enabled Mark to purchase Rivenhall at a competitive price over a term of 20 years with an initial 5 year fix to provide certainty in regard to debt service. The deal went forward on the fixed rate for the initial term, thereafter reverting to a standard variable rate.

Given the administration process and the declining revenue, standard debt servicing criteria would not have been met. Stewart Hindley & Partners proposed an elegant solution that met the lenders criteria and reduced the deposit required.

This allowed for additional capital to be invested into the business, rather than making weight with bank debt.

Stewart Hindley & Partners:

  • undertook the whole debt raising process and
  • prepared forensic accounting services to substantiate the trade undertaken at Rivenhall for the purpose of the lenders debt servicing requirements
  • carrying this out on their standard “no win no fee” terms, despite the substantial up-front professional fees incurred in their debt submission to the lenders. Other brokers had demanded up-front fees given the difficulty of securing the quantum of debt required.

Comments

All in all a successful outcome from a professional team of industry experienced accountants and brokers with real “hands on” operational experience. Stewart Hindley & Partners provided a high degree of confidence to all parties concerned in this challenging transaction.

Mark Venkatasami
Rivenhall Hotel & Spa

http://www.rivenhallhotel.com/

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Hotel Finance Case Study – Home Farm

From its elevated setting and highly visible roadside location (on the A35 between Axminster and Honiton) Home Farm is – as its name implies – a warm and intimate hotel that has been created around a 16th Century thatched farm house.

The converted old stable block provides an additional letting annex opposite the main hotel in a pretty cobbled courtyard. Importantly, its location and style of mixed tourist, commercial and restaurant trade, provides for an all-year-round income.

The Objective

Home Farm represented a hotel finance challenge to our clients who were new-to-trade and also wanted to purchase the adjoining substantial residential property (which was also owned by the vendors) to provide separate living accommodation.

The objective was to secure two routes of hotel finance, one for the businesses the other for the residential property within a matter of weeks as the vendors were in the process of emigrating.

The Solution

Following an initial meeting with the vendors and the purchasers to fully understand the business dynamic, Stewart Hindley & Partners developed an acquisition and debt strategy to provide the purchasers with a solution which was not only fundable, but also tax efficient and one that didn’t entirely depend on the businesses trading profit to service the combined debt.

The Result

Stewart Hindley & Partners’ delivery ensured a real understanding of their financing requirements and analysed the advantages and disadvantages of the different hotel loan options that would be available to them given their circumstances. Their track record in hotel lending provided un-parallelled access to prime and lenders specialising in new to trade operators in the West Country. This ensured that the new owners of the Home Farm Hotel secured a funding solution that met their immediate and future requirements.

Given the complex nature of the transaction, substantive meetings with several lenders were facilitated by Stewart Hindley & Partners. We recommended a lender who could offer flexibility terms including the facility to start on an interest-only basis, with the option to switch to a repayment profile at any time during the term of the loan.

A decision in-principle loan offer, subject to valuation, was successfully secured on the above basis.

Comments

We selected Stewart Hindley & Partners to advise us because they fully understood our requirements and the complex nature of the seasonal trade. They appreciated the loan profile required to purchase both the business and the house on separate mortgages at competitive rates.

We were more than pleased with the results as from our perspective it was a hands-off transaction. The Stewart Hindley team kept us fully informed during the entire process and while there were a few heart-stopping moments during the purchase, the debt was finally secured at very competitive rates with the minimal amount of fuss and distraction to our lives.

Ashley Gray Proprietor Home Farm Hotel

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B&B finance case study – Sherwood Guest House

The Sherwood is an up-market and contemporary AA 4 Star guesthouse within a rare 3 storey Victorian town house property with a highly desirable prime seafront position in one of the most sought after areas of the seaside town resort of Cleethorpes (NE Lincs).

The Objective

The applicant had previous management experience of the hospitality sector having worked in a variety of roles in the hospitality and other customer facing sectors, was looking for additional guesthouse finance to make weight with her own capital, in order to purchase her own bed & breakfast business.

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