Saturday, December 2, 2023

Press Up hospitality group cites ‘tough trading conditions’ as it makes 32 head office staff redundant

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The Press Up Hospitality Group is making 32 staff redundant at its headquarters in Ely Place in Dublin, citing “tough trading conditions” among the reasons for the decision. This amounts to about 30 per cent of the 110 employees at its head office operation.

When contacted by The Irish Times, Press Up, which is controlled by Paddy McKillen jnr and his business partner Matt Ryan, said it had “very reluctantly” made the decision to lay off staff.

“The reason for the redundancies is due to a number of factors including the recent sale and merger of our hotel portfolio, the current tough trading conditions and costs of doing business in Ireland, which includes the large cost of goods inflation, energy cost increases and the recent VAT increase [from 9 per cent to 13.5 per cent] and wage increases,” the company said in a statement.

“All of these factors have made keeping a large central office team in place unsustainable for the company. The priority now is to successfully focus on the business and the 2,500 staff across the group.”

In October, it emerged that Mr McKillen jnr and Mr Ryan had agreed to sell a majority stake in the Dean Hotel Group to British property group Lifestyle Hospitality Capital and Elliott Investment Management, the New York alternative investment giant founded by billionaire activist investor Paul Singer.

The new investors are acquiring more than 70 per cent of the business in a deal that values it at more than €350 million, according to sources.

The deal involves a portfolio of eight hotels using the Dean, the Mayson, the Clarence, and the Devlin brands, the soon-to-open Leinster hotel in Dublin as well as Glasson Lakehouse near Athlone in Co Westmeath.

Press Up’s hospitality portfolio also includes the Elephant & Castle chain of restaurants, Captain Americas, Wagamama, Wowburger, Stella cinemas and Dime Coffee Co. The company recently closed its Union Cafe venue in Mount Merrion to progress plans for a residential scheme on the site while its Elephant & Castle restaurant in Monkstown also closed recently.

In its statement, Press Up said it would “continue to work very compassionately and directly with those impacted on an individual basis to ensure either a relocation within the group, or an opportunity outside the company, is realised where possible”.

The bars-to-restaurants group was established by Mr McKillen and Mr Ryan in 2009. The ultimate holding company above Press-Up is Keillan Ltd, registered in the Isle of Man.

Mr McKillen jnr owns 50 per cent of the parent company, while his father, property developer Paddy McKillen snr, owns a further 25 per cent. The remainder of the group is split evenly between Mr Ryan and Liam Cunningham, a long-time associate of Mr McKillen snr.

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