Statement issued on behalf of Beannchor Group
A spokesperson from Beannchor said:
“The Merchant Hotel is not for sale. We continue to work with the bank and any change in our funding arrangements will have no impact on jobs, our staff or the day to day running of The Merchant or our other businesses.
“As we have been already quoted as saying, this process is part of a well-publicised strategy by Ulster Bank to reduce its debt book, North and South. For Beannchor, it means we may have a new funder but other than that, it is very much business as usual for The Merchant and the pubs in this portfolio. Our focus on the successful running of these high-performing assets continues unabated; we will continue to provide excellent levels of service to our loyal customer base, support and develop the best staff in the industry and deliver robust and profitable trading.”
Colin Neill, Chief Executive for Pubs of Ulster said:
“Transfer of debt by banks and financial institutions is not unusual and Ulster Bank’s intentions to transfer its debt within particular sectors is well known. Pubs of Ulster understands that it is business as usual for Beannchor and that none of the Group’s licensed premises are for sale.
“Beannchor has contributed significantly to the growth in the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland; it has played a key role in reviving Belfast city centre, where it is apparent that a new and vibrant night time economy is flourishing, and indeed in other places across Northern Ireland.
“Pubs of Ulster is confident that the portfolio will continue to trade very successfully.”