Son of Strathmore Hotels founder leads MBO

Strathmore Hotels Group's portfolio includes the Salutation Hotel in Perth. Picture: John Devlin
Strathmore Hotels Group's portfolio includes the Salutation Hotel in Perth. Picture: John Devlin
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A family-run hotel group targeting further expansion has been bought by the founder’s son almost 30 years after the company was established.

Chris Rickard led a management buy-out (MBO) to purchase his mother’s shares in Strathmore Hotels Group, which owns sites including the Salutation Hotel in Perth.

The East Kilbride-headquartered company was founded in 1991 by Chris’ father, Ronnie Rickard, who passed away in 2012.

After joining the family business in 2001, Chris Rickard later became majority shareholder and managing director of the group, and has run the company since his father’s death. His sister, Louise Hamill, is a minority shareholder in the group and holds the position of sales and marketing director.

Both siblings had been closely involved in growing the business with their father for many years and it was “always intended that the company remain in family hands”, said the firm.

Chris Rickard, managing director of the Strathmore Group, said: “Obviously the Strathmore Group means a lot to me personally and professionally. I wanted to keep the group in family ownership and continue the great work that my dad did in establishing and building up the business.

“I think that I have been building on his legacy since 2012 and now, following the MBO, put my own stamp on the business.

“I had great help from Iain Walker of French Duncan and I am grateful for the support of Handelsbanken, and Brodies and MacRoberts for the fantastic work they did on the MBO.”

The Strathmore Group’s first purchase was the Salutation Hotel for £1 million in 1991, and its portfolio has since grown to comprise five hotels in Scotland and two in England.

It now boasts assets worth more than £30m, including the Nethybridge Hotel in the Cairngorms, the Royal Hotel in Oban, the Cumbria Grand Hotel in the Lake District and the Cairn Hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire.

Strathmore reported a turnover rise of 7 per cent over the last year, from £15.6m to £16.7m. The group also saw an increase in its hotel occupancy rate, which grew from 62 per cent to 64 per cent over the same period.

Rickard added: “Hospitality is a highly competitive business and requires continued investment and new ideas to ensure a business grows. I am very proud of this being an independent and family-run group of hotels which allows us to offer a unique, personalised service to our clients.

“I am excited by the challenges ahead and want to lead Strathmore Hotels into a bright future and will be seeking to expand our portfolio and grow the group.”

Iain Walker, director of corporate advisory at French Duncan, who advised on the deal, said: “The hospitality sector is performing very strongly, and Scotland as a destination is increasingly appealing both to tourists and the staycation market.

“The quality of the leadership coupled with the value of the portfolio and the strong performance of the business made this a pretty simple decision for funders to back. Given the current market and management’s hotel heritage, the business is well positioned for growth.”