By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
Lantern Hotels have released their full-year financial results, with figures showing that the divestment of non-core hotels is helping the group pay down debt and consolidate its asset holdings.
The divestment strategy, which began in December 2015 has fuelled a strong earnings growth and halved gross debt for Lantern. The half year ending 30 June 2016 – since the strategy has been adopted – has seen operating revenue for the core hotels grow by 10.9 per cent, and their EBITDA increase by 38.8 per cent.
The sale of eight non-core hotels – including the sale of Dolphin Hotel to a consortium including Christian Denny and Maurice Terzini, and the Courthouse Hotel Cairns to Pelathon – and the contracted sale of another, has raised $43 million, and has seen Lantern’s gross bank debt reduced from roughly $80 million at 31 December 2015, to approximately $40 million as at 30 June 2016. The only remaining non-core hotel to be sold is the Brisbane Hotel in Perth, which Lantern has decided to retain.
Outside of the divestment of assets, Lantern has focused on the gaming side of operations, and will continue to strengthen their gaming presence in the future. Gaming revenue for the group increased by 18 per cent, bolstered by an EGM replacement programme, with almost half of all EGMs in the core hotels having been replaced within the last six months. The programme is expected to be complete by the end of August, with 64 per cent of all core hotel EGMs having been replaced.
On the back of a strong balance sheet, Lantern will look to grow the company through a continued investment in gaming, and the refurbishment of its core hotels, alongside a push in high-quality recruitment of staff.
Lantern Hotels were contacted for comment but had not responded by time of publishing.