Crieff Hydro posts rise in sales and profit

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Hotels group Crieff Hydro has seen a double-digit rise in sales and strong profit growth in its latest financial year but has warned of challenging times ahead for the sector.

The group, whose portfolio also includes the Peebles Hydro and the Ballachulish and Isles of Glencoe hotels, saw turnover rise by more than 10 per cent to £29.8 million and pre-tax profits increase by nearly two-thirds to just over £700,000.

The figures also show the group has continued to invest heavily with more than £2m spent on projects across the business.

Despite the strong performance in the year ending 28 February, the company – founded 150 years ago – warned the sector was facing a number of significant challenges including rising uncertainty around Brexit, escalating costs and recruitment issues.

Chief executive Stephen Leckie, a direct descendant of the founder, said it had been a solid performance with growth across the business but added: “It has been challenging, seeing through the restructuring we started last year and fighting hard for every pound of revenue and profit.”

Peebles Hydro moved into the black for the first time since it was acquired by the group in 2014 and its two hotels in Glencoe have continued to be profitable from the outset.

The group is also taking on the management of the Kings House Hotel in Glencoe when it opens in 2019.

“This shows there’s lots of opportunities out there and our performance says we are seizing them. Scotland is hitting the headlines for its ability to attract ever more visitors, helped by exchange rates and improving infrastructure.

“But we should make no mistake that there’s a sense that the storm-clouds are gathering across our industry as fundamental changes to cost structures pile up. This on top of massive uncertainty over all sorts of Brexit consequences.”