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Albion Ventures successfully exits hotel investment

Albion Ventures has sold The Place Sandwich VCT Limited, the owner and operator of the 37-bedroom Bell Hotel in the medieval Cinque Port town of Sandwich, to Shepherd Neame Limited, Britain’s oldest brewer, for GBP3.6 million.

Funds managed or advised by Albion Ventures backed the acquisition of the historic hotel in January 2005, since when a total of GBP3.1 million has been invested. Since acquisition, all the bedrooms and public areas have been subject to a substantial refurbishment, including the Regency Room and the Old Dining Room restaurant, with additional bedrooms created.  Since the renovation, the hotel has won an AA Rosette for the Old Dining Room and received much positive press. The Bell was recently the headquarters hotel for the R&A during the 2011 Open Golf Championship.

The aggregate consideration of GBP3.6 million included repayment of all loan stock held by the funds. As a result of the sale, Albion Venture Capital Trust PLC, Albion Prime VCT PLC and Healthcare & Leisure Property Limited have received a return of approximately 1.6x their investment.

Henry Stanford (pictured), Partner at Albion Ventures, says: “We are delighted to have played our part in restoring the hotel to its former glory and wish it every success under Shepherd Neame’s ownership. It has also generated a pleasing return for our funds. Asset backed investments providing an income stream remain an important part of Albion Ventures’ investment strategy and currently account for around 50% of our portfolio.”

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