Montpeliers toasts profit from upgraded venues

HOSPITALITY group Montpeliers, owner of a host of Edinburgh bars and restaurants including Rick’s, Indigo Yard and Tigerlily, said it traded “extremely well” during the last financial year as it booked a better-than-expected profit of £1.4 million in its latest accounts.

Tigerlily, Edinburgh. Picture: Contributed

However, the figure for the year to 27 April compares with £1.3m for the 39 weeks prior to that, as the group has changed its accounting period.

Montpeliers, which also owns the Lulu and Opal Lounge nightclubs, said the aggregate performance of its seven operating units was “ahead of expectations”. Turnover was £15.4m, compared with £11.5m in the shorter period before.

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The firm spent £737,000 on refurbishments last year, including an upgrade to its eponymous Montpeliers in the Bruntsfield area of the capital. Along with work at Indigo Yard, the firm said it had benefited “significantly” from the investment.

Staff numbers at Montpeliers – which is owned by Robert and Wendy Elliott, and David and Ruth Wither – stayed relatively stable at 343.

The company’s performance triggered an enhanced dividend for its owners, with the company paying out £800,000, compared with just £90,000 a year earlier. At the same time, net debt was reduced by more than £1m, to just under £6m.

David Wither said in the firm’s strategic report: “The directors are minded to reduce gearing as much as possible over the next four to five years.”

He noted the “perennial increase in competition” in the Edinburgh licensed trade.

But he added: “The company’s business philosophy is simple. If we do not continually invest into our assets and our people we will have no-one to blame but ourselves if our competitors overtake us.”