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'It's great to be back and we'll keep developing Ynyshir Hall' BANK BACKS COUPLE AS THEY RE-ACQUIRE POWYS HOTEL.

Byline: SION BARRY

BARCLAYS Bank has supported the re-acquisition of Ynyshir Hall by husband and wife team Joan and Rob Reen.

As reported on Tuesday, the couple bought the Powys hotel, which they managed, from Von Essen Hotels after it was put into administration. The couple had previously sold the property to them in 2006 for pounds 2.5m.

Mrs Reen said she was "absolutely delighted" to have regained ownership of the property.

The value of the acquisition is not being disclosed, but it had been marketed for pounds 1.5m by Christie &Co, on behalf of Ernst & Young, the administrators of Von Essen.

Barclays, which funded the development of the hotel which the Reens first opened in 1989, has backed their latest acquisition.

The hotel currently employs 18 full time staff with a turnover of more than pounds 650,000.

Mrs Reen said: "It is wonderful to have back control of the hotel and we are now looking forward to moving ahead immediately with some major maintenance work, including installing a new roof and painting the exterior, as well as developing two new cottage suites.

For the past five years, Mrs Reen has been the hotel's general manager, while Mr Reen took a step back to concentrate on his career as an artist.

Following the collapse of Von Essen in April last year with debts of nearly pounds 300m, Mrs Reen said it had not initially been their intention to buy back the hotel as she had been due to retire in September last year.

However, they had been encouraged to do so by what she described as the "wonderfully supportive staff and guests".

She added: "We don't regret the Von Essen phase, as we learnt a lot regarding various systems, such as issues of legality and health and safety. "However, there were the disadvantages of belonging to a large company which meant we couldn't take pro-active decisions without first getting permission from head office."

Roger Owen-Jones, Barclays Business manager, said: "Barclays Business is committed to using our industry expertise and specialists to support such propositions, which are vital to a prosperous local economy.

"Joan and Rob are a great example of combining industry expertise with experience to develop a business.

"Investing in this acquisition second time around in the current climate was a big decision for the couple, but they have a proven track record and we wish them every success for the future."

Mr Reen will now resume his involvement in the Ynyshir Hall, which is a member of Relais & Ch--teaux.

In the long-term, the couple intend to go ahead with the plans Von Essen had for the hotel, including the development of a spa and four to five extra bedrooms in outbuildings within the grounds.

Ynyshir Hall is the 19th sale from the Von Essen Hotel portfolio.

There are a further eight hotels still to be sold.

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[bar] Rob and Joan Reen have re-acquired Ynyshir Hall [bar] Ynyshir Hall in Powys has been re-purchased by Rob and Joan Reen after previous owners Von Essen Hotels was put into administration
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 12, 2012
Words:515
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