Crieff Hydro’s investments pay off

Stephen and Fiona Leckie

Crieff Hydro Ltd, Scotland’s oldest registered trading company has today released its 146th annual set of accounts for the year ended 28 February 2014, reporting a 6% growth in revenue from £17,713,775 to £18,845,916, with its core profitability before deduction of exceptional costs £663,615 – an increase of 4.8% on the previous year. The company say that the “overall growth has been driven by continued re-investment and focus in placing product, people, customers and responsibility at the heart of the business.”

Over the last twelve months the company has increased the number of rooms being operated  from 236 in 2013 to 644. In addition, the company operates 55 self-catering units, representing a further 137 bedrooms.

The increase in rooms was due to the company pursuing a number of strategic opportunities in the course of the year. It secured a management agreement to operate four additional hotels. The Yorkshire Hotel in Harrogate (80 rooms); The Ballachulish Hotel (53 rooms); The Isles of Glencoe Hotel and Leisure Centre (59 rooms) and the Oban Caledonian Hotel (59 rooms) were incorporated under a wholly owned subsidiary company, Freedom Hotels (Management) Ltd.

Crieff Hydro Ltd also completed the purchase of all the shares of Peebles Hydro Limited (formerly The Peebles Hotel Hydropathic Limited) which owns and operates Peebles Hydro (132 rooms) and The Park Hotel in Peebles (25 rooms). Peebles Hydro Limited is also a wholly owned subsidiary company of Crieff Hydro Ltd.

Capital investment continued at Crieff Hydro in the year with a spend of £1,742,561. It opened a new family oriented food outlet, Piccolo, launched its aerial adventure course, Aloft!, and continued its rolling programme of bedroom and self-catering refurbishment and continued improvement in staff facilities.

Stephen Leckie, Chief Executive of Crieff Hydro said, “Crieff Hydro has undoubtedly had a milestone year and I’m delighted that our continued investment has resulted in a significant increase in revenue and a healthy dividend for our shareholders. However, there remains uncertainty and risk around the pace and trends in the wider economic recovery and there is no room for complacency. Although we are currently outperforming our competitive set in many areas, we will remain committed to controlling and reviewing our variable costs and improving efficiency to allow us to be flexible and responsive to changes in customer expectations, trends and events in the economic landscape. Our independence and our ability to remain nimble and flex with the environment is one of the key attributes of the company and one which currently sets the Crieff Hydro Family apart from most of our competitors.”

John Jennett, Managing Director of Crieff Hydro said, “Investment has been key to our success in the past 12 months, both in relation to our capital spend and our growth strategy, moves which have now consolidated Crieff Hydro Limited’s position as one of Scotland’s leading operators for the business and leisure market. A similar capital spend is planned for 2015 with continued reinvestment to improve longer-term efficiency, business performance and overall customer experience.”

He added; “Having the drive and commitment to providing great hospitality and the best customer experience possible can’t be underestimated. This is why we’re in business. We now have eight hotels as part of the Crieff Hydro Family, all very different in their own ways but each one joined together by our glue, which is real enthusiasm and commitment for delivering our unique brand of hospitality with emphasis on quality, personality and in continually exceeding customer expectations. We continue to be motivated to surprise and delight and this year offers us a whole new opportunity to do in each of our new hotels, extending the unique brand of Crieff Hydro hospitality.”