Close Brothers divests hotels

Close Brothers Venture Capital Trust has sold its investments in Premier VCT and Hawkwell VCT which respectively own the 96-room Express by Holiday Inn in Bristol city centre and the 51-bed Hawkwell House Hotel in Oxford. Close Brothers originally invested £7.7 million and the aggregate consideration received by the group for its holdings, net of sale costs, was £10.5 million.

The proceeds will be invested in new initiatives in the leisure and healthcare sectors. The first is Kew Green VCT which will undertake an £8.5 million project to construct and operate a 175 room Express by Holiday Inn at Stansted Airport, with a subsequent phase incorporating an additional 75 rooms.

The second initiative is a plan to build and operate a care home for people with learning disabilities, located in East Anglia. Both of these investments will be syndicated with Close Brothers Protected VCT PLC and Healthcare & Leisure Property Fund, also advised by Close Venture Management.

Close Brothers Venture Capital Trust invests in a broad range of unquoted asset-backed businesses in the hotel, care home, residential property development, health and fitness and cinema sectors. It is aimed at providing investors with a lower risk investment profile, at the same time generating a strong dividend yield. Since its launch in 1996, it has paid out to shareholders over 42 pence in dividends, averaging over seven pence per annum.