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Hopes high for finding hotel buyers

PUBLISHED: 18:52 06 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:48 06 July 2010

THE administrators of three hotel companies owned by local businessman Richard Cattermole remain optimistic of finding buyers for the properties.

Nearly 500 employees were left facing an uncertain future after the administrators, from accountancy firm KPMG, were appointed at the request of the Lloyds Banking Group last month.

THE administrators of three hotel companies owned by local businessman Richard Cattermole remain optimistic of finding buyers for the properties.

Nearly 500 employees were left facing an uncertain future after the administrators, from accountancy firm KPMG, were appointed at the request of the Lloyds Banking Group last month.

The administrators said at the time that all the hotels affected would continue to trade while efforts were made to sell them as going concerns.

By the onset of the Christmas and New Year holiday period, only one property, near Hull on Humberside, had been sold.

But yesterday, the administrators said they were confident that further deals would follow.

“All hotels continue to trade as planned in the administration,” said KPMG partner Allan Graham, who is joint administrator of the companies, together with colleague Jane Moriarty.

“The sale of the Humber Crown Hotel, in Hull completed in December and with the level of interest to date we are encouraged that further hotel sales will be forthcoming.”

The companies in administration are Elizabeth Hotels Ltd, Cavendish Hotels Ltd and Elizabeth Estates (BS) Ltd. Together they include 14 hotels, including the Hotel Elizabeth Copdock, near Ipswich, the Mill Hotel, in Sudbury, and the Limes Hotel, in Needham Market, and 13 public houses.

Mr Cattermole's main holding company, Ryan Elizabeth Holdings plc, and its other subsidiaries are not in administration. These include the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell, in Felixstowe.

Ryan Elizabeth Holdings last month faced a winding up petition by HM Revenue & Customers but this was withdrawn after the outstanding debt was settled.

A petition by the Revenue in respect of Elizabeth Hotels was later dismissed, following confirmation of the appointment of the administrators.

At the time of their initial appointment, the administrators said: “The company's financial liabilities made it impossible to continue running the businesses as they stood. We will continue to trade the business in the short term whilst a buyer is sought for the hotels and pubs, individually or as a group.”

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