Balmoral could be sold as Forte plans reshuffle of hotels

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SIR Rocco Forte is believed to be considering selling Edinburgh’s landmark Balmoral hotel as part of a reshuffle of his luxury hotel portfolio.

Industry insiders say Forte, 68, is also looking at offloading the five-star Lowry Hotel in Manchester. Analysts say the two hotels could fetch about £100 million in total.

The Rocco Forte Collection owns 11 luxury properties in Europe, Russia, Northern Africa and the Middle East. It sold Le Richemond hotel in Geneva three years ago as part of a debt restructuring deal with its banks.

The group has also given up running the Augustine in Prague, and is understood to have held talks with its banks over its golf resort in Sicily.

The most recent accounts show the hotel operator lost £9.3m in the year to 30 April, 2012, following a deficit of £9.6m in the previous 12 months.

The Forte family fortune is valued at £250m, much of which was massed from the purchase of the Forte Group by Granada in 1996 during one of the biggest hostile takeover battles of that decade.