23 June 2016 – Expansión
Family owned chain / The Group chaired by Jordi Clos owns 12 hotels and 10 apartment buildings, and has a gearing ratio of 11.2%.
The Catalan businessman Jordi Clos, owner of Derby Hotels and the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona, and the Chairman of the Barcelona Hotel Association, has created a real estate empire from scratch that is now worth €800 million. Few hotel chains in Spain are so asset rich, given that the group owns all twelve of its hotels and all ten of the tourist apartment buildings that it operates. Its gearing ratio is also unusually low: 11.2% of the total asset value, at around €90 million.
In addition to the properties for tourist use, which are located in London, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona, the group also owns several office buildings, homes and car parks, which it holds purely for real estate investment purposes.
Derby Hotels, which moved its headquarters from Barcelona to Madrid a few months ago, recorded revenues of €74.3 million in 2015, up by 6.4% compared with the previous year. Of that amount, €67 million was generated by the hotel business and the remainder, from the operation of the tourist apartments.
The only building in this family-owned chain that precedes Jordi Clos is the Hotel Derby, which his father-in-law opened in Barcelona in 1968. The businessman has opened all of the other properties, over a thirty year period from 1983 until 2013.
In some cases, Clos acquired his properties with investment partners, before going on to buy out their stakes years later. Such is the case of the Caesar Hotel in London, which he purchased together with the Metropolis real estate fund in 2004 for €30 million (each party acquired a 50% stake). In 2009, he joined forces with that fund again to acquire the Hotel Banke in Paris for €75 million. In 2013, Clos purchased the shares that Metropolis held in those two hotels in an operation that valued the assets at €120 million in total.
A similar case was that of Hotel Bagués in Barcelona, which he opened in 2010 with the Bagués Masriera family, owners of the building that the jewellers of the same name had occupied for decades. Last year, Close purchased the remaining 40% stake that the jewellers still held for €3.8 million.
Searching for new properties
Now, having digested the purchase of the 50% stakes of the hotels in London and Paris, Derby wants to continue to expand its empire in Europe. “Barcelona has been ruled out due to the hotel moratorium there and, we already have two five-star hotels in Madrid”, explained Clos. “Instead, we want to continue to diversify our risk by opening hotels in other cities, such as Amsterdam and Munich, although we are also looking at Copenhagen and Stockholm”.
The terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 directly affected the Group’s hotels in the French capital. Clos estimates that the occupancy rate there fell by 15% and average prices decreased by 20%. “If we weren’t a diversified chain with a low gearing ratio, it would have been hard for us to survive the winter in Paris”, he added.
Indeed, Hotel Banke had just increased its rating from four to five-stars following the remodelling of its 91 rooms. Now, the group is planning to raise the category of its hotel in London too, to a superior four-star property. To this end, it plans to increase the size of its rooms and reduce the total number from 140 to 120.
Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)
Translation: Carmel Drake