Rescued Isle of Man hotel reports £10m profits

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An Isle of Man hotel chain, rescued from collapse by a controversial government loan, has reported an annual profit of £10.3m.

In April 2013, the Sefton Group received a rescue package of £4.5m including a £1.3m loan, plus £3.2m to buy development land in Douglas.

When scrutinised by independent lawyers the deal was later found to have been made "outside of government powers".

Sefton chairman Miles Walker said the figures "justify the intervention".

He added: "Bearing in mind that the Sefton Group is the employer of 340 people, the customer of 150 local companies and is owned predominantly by 550 local shareholders, the government deserves plaudits, not brickbats for supporting such a key player in the Isle of Man economy".

The Sefton Group PLC is a Manx company which owns the Sefton and the Palace Hotel Casino on Douglas promenade, along with the Sefton Express hotel near Ronaldsway airport.

It is thought the group was facing debts of about £1.7m - much of which was owed to a range of island businesses.

When the the deal was struck in 2013 it was criticised by other hotel owners for creating "a biased and dysfunctional commercial environment, with unfair competition".

The Manx economic development minister resigned over the issue last week.

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