Travel and property group Minoan saw its shares jump yesterday amid progress for its long-awaited plans to build a flagship hotel complex on Greece’s largest island.
The Glasgow-based firm told investors in October that plans for its project in Crete – which have already been unanimously approved by the Greek Council of State – only need to be endorsed by the country’s government before president Prokopis Pavlopoulos can issue his presidential decree.
In an update yesterday, Minoan said: “The company has been advised that the process for approving the presidential decree, which resembles an outline planning consent, is now reaching its final stages.”
Shares in the Aim-quoted firm, headed by executive chairman Christopher Egleton, rose more than 16 per cent following the update. They later closed at 7.75p, a rise of almost 11 per cent.
The group, which also owns travel firms John Semple, King World and Stewart, plans to build a number of small and medium-sized hotels on the Cavo Sidero peninsula, which it describes as a “spectacular location” on the north-east coast of Crete.
In July, the company warned that the long-running political turmoil in Greece – combined with the previous month’s terrorist attacks in Tunisia – meant its annual results would fall short of City hopes, although figures for the six months to 30 April showed a 1.7 per cent reduction in operating losses to £584,000.
As a result of changes in the Greek planning process, Minoan also said yesterday that its joint venture partner in the Crete project – including Candia Investment Corporation – will be able to increase its stake in the scheme by 25 per cent at a cost of £12.5 million once the presidential decree has been issued.
“Recognising the changes in planning procedures in this manner has the effect of bringing forward the date on which the joint venture partners have to decide whether to purchase the additional stake,” the company said.
“This will provide greater visibility during discussions with other potential partners, which can now take place at a substantially earlier date.”
During the six months to 30 April, Minoan Group reported a total transaction value of £28.7 million, up 18.6 per cent on a year earlier.
Egleton said the firm’s travel division had benefited from the strength of the pound and the UK’s continuing economic recovery, adding: “Trading remains strong.”