Family MBO of Scottish hotels group

Son of Strathmore Hotels founder aims to continue building business

The Royal Hotel in Oban.
The Royal Hotel in Oban is part of Strathmore Hotels’ portfolio.

THE son of late hotelier Ronnie Rickard has led a management buyout of the group started by his father almost 30 years ago.

Chris Rickard has bought out his mother’s shares in East Kilbride-based Strathmore Hotels, which was founded in 1991 with the Salutation Hotel in Perth and now includes the Royal Hotel in Oban, the Alexandra and Ben Nevis Hotels in Fort William, the Nethybridge Hotel near Aviemore and two hotels in England.

Chris, who is the majority shareholder of the company, joined the group in 2001 and has been managing director since 2012; his sister, Louise Hamill, is a minority shareholder and sales and marketing director of the group.

Having worked closely with his father for many years to grow the business, which turned over £16.7 million last year, Chris said he plans to continue expanding the group.

“I think that I have been building on his legacy since 2012 and now, following the MBO, put my own stamp on the business,” he said.

“Hospitality is a highly competitive business and requires continued investment and new ideas to ensure a business grows.

“I am excited by the challenges ahead and want to lead Strathmore Hotels into a bright future and will be seeking to expand our portfolio and grow the group.”

Iain Walker, corporate advisory director at French Duncan, who advised on the deal, said: “The quality of the leadership coupled with the value of the portfolio and the strong performance of the business made this a pretty simple decision for funders to back.

“Given the current market and management’s hotel heritage, the business is well-positioned for growth.”