|By Jim Armitage, London Evening
StandardMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 05, 2011--The Barclay brothers have received several unsolicited takeover offers for their Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly and declare the legendary site to be worth at least pounds sterling 625 million, the Evening Standard can reveal.
The Telegraph newspaper owners mentioned the approaches, and the new valuation of the trophy asset, in their annual report and accounts to Companies House.
In what reads more like an estate agent's sale brochure than a conventional set of accounts, they also boast of record sales and an expensive facelift for the building.
However, agents said it was unlikely the brothers would want to sell so soon after last month paying nearly pounds sterling 700 million for Claridge's, the Connaught and the Berkeley.
One suggested they may be seeking to advertise for offers to refinance the business, which the accounts state has an outstanding bank loan of pounds sterling 149.6 million.
Turnover at the Ritz in the last calendar year rose from pounds sterling 28.4 million to pounds sterling 31.3 million, giving rise to a bumper profit of pounds sterling 6.7 million before tax against pounds sterling 5.4 million the previous year.
London hotels have proved remarkably resilient to the economic crisis affecting other capital cities and the Ritz has probably been more successful than most due to its glittering fame around the world. The figures also state that the highest-paid director earned pounds sterling 227,000 compared with pounds sterling 81,000 the previous year.
The accounts state: "The directors are very pleased to report that despite the difficult economic environment the company achieved the highest sales revenue in its history. During the year the company undertook a major cleaning and repair programme of the hotel's stone facia at a cost of pounds sterling 1.75 million."
The Ritz was at the centre of a fraud in 2006 when a former lorry driver posed as a property contractor selling the hotel on behalf of the Barclay brothers.
He conned a businessman out of pounds sterling 1 million as a downpayment for buying the hotel at a knockdown price of pounds sterling 250 million.
(c)2011 the London Evening Standard
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