As the British economy continues to take greater steps towards recovery, many growing firms are examining their options for revenue growth by channelling investment into expansion. This has been a particularly popular trend in sectors relating to the tourism industry, as the UK is now one of Europe’s top destinations for international visitors – something the Bulldog Hotel Group wishes to capitalise upon by doubling its portfolio after receiving a significant financial boost from the Business Growth Fund (BGF).
The fund, which is currently worth £2.5 billion, is backed by major high street banks including HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and RBS, along with multinational financial services giant Standard Chartered. Bulldog has received a total of £4.5 million from the kitty, and in return the fund’s members will receive a minority stake in the growing business.
The Lincolnshire based firm already owns and operates seven inns in Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and County Durham, and will use the cash injection to seek other opportunities both in these areas and further afield. It is believed that the group’s property portfolio will gain an additional seven locations over the next four years, utilising a larger finance package from its backers worth £20 million to date.
Founder and managing director Kevin Charity has revealed that the primary locations sought after by the group are smaller market towns in the UK, and that the ideal properties will have between 21 and 40 bedrooms.
He says; “We have ambitious plans for the next few years, which are centred on finding and acquiring the right estates in the right locations, and sensitively restoring them in line with the character of local surroundings.
“BGF’s investment means that we are able to pursue our growth plan without financial distractions or cash-flow restrictions.”
The Bulldog Hotel Group originally started as a pub operator and ran under this business model from 1995 until 2006 – however, the onset of the financial crisis and resulting market downturn meant that a sale of the group’s 25 pubs was necessary. Since then, the new business aim of acquiring and turning around struggling inns operating at the premium end of the market has seen the group rise to prosperity, leading to a listing in the London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain index this year.
Another factor contributing to Bulldog’s success has been the growth of the British dining out market, which has doubled in size during the past 12 years and is predicted by market intelligence firm Allegra Foodservice to be worth £52 billion by 2017.
Bulldog’s policy of introducing pub and restaurant space to market town hotels, revamping menus and investing in quality has seen annual sales top £10 million – hopefully, this new cash injection will allow the group to further grow profits and become a major player in the British hotels industry for many years to come.
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