Saudi billionaire buys Scotsman Hotel Group out of administration

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A SAUDI billionaire has bought his hotel group, including a boutique hotel in Leeds, out of administration.

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber re-established control of the Scotsman Hotel Group, which runs 42 The Calls in Leeds, after completing a deal through his hotels and resorts arm JJW Group.

The deal secured 27 jobs at 42 The Calls and, according to the administrators, no redundancies were made during the administration.

The group’s other hotels include the five-star Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh and the deluxe Hotel de la Trémoille in Paris.

Robert Croxen, David Crawshaw and Blair Nimmo, of KPMG’s restructuring practice, were appointed to the Baby Grand Hotel Company – the business behind 42 The Calls – on November 16.

The company is a UK subsidiary of the London-based Scotsman Hotel Group.

KPMG said in a statement that the hotel continued to trade as normal through the period of administration and all 27 employees’ jobs were transferred to the purchaser as part of the sale with no redundancies made during the administration.

The sheikh, ranked as the 93rd richest man in the world by Forbes in 2010, bought the group with 100 per cent equity and no finance.

He is expected to invest $100m (£64.4m) in the three hotels during 2012.

A spokesman for the group said: “Sheikh Mohamed is delighted to be able to announce the Scotsman Group is now fully back in his family of companies.

“There are major, exciting investment plans for hotels in the group over the course of next year.

“The details of this will be announced in due course.”

The Scotsman Hotel Group deal is one of two major acquisitions announced this month with a cash investment of $1.5bn (£966m) to be injected into Sheikh Mohamed’s MBI Group over the course of 2012.

Four-star 42 The Calls is a former 18th Century riverside corn mill, known as Fletland Mill, which was bought by hotelier Jonathan Wix.

Mr Wix saved the building from dilapidation and turned it into a boutique hotel, keeping many of the original features.

The hotel opened its doors in 1991.

Mr Wix sold the hotel, along with the Scotsman Hotel, to former Regal Hotel Group chairman Charles Vere Nicoll in September 1999. The hotels made up the Scotsman Hotel Group.

Al Jaber’s MBI International bought the Scotsman Hotel Group for £63m in 2006.

MBI is a multinational corporation with a combined asset value in excess of $9bn (£5.8bn).

Until recently, Mr Al Jaber has been locked in a court battle with Standard Bank which has now been settled.