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Hotel company makes move into central Scotland

AN ambitious hotel company is starting 2013 by expanding its reach into the central belt of Scotland.

SGE Hotels has acquired the three-star Leapark Hotel in Grangemouth for an undisclosed sum.

The venue has been on the market since April last year after the owners decided they wanted to retire.

Family-owned SGE already runs four hotels in the west of Scotland providing almost 200 rooms. Those are the Esplanade Hotel and the Argyll Hotel in Dunoon, plus the Imperial in Fort William and the Columba in Oban.

The 48-bed Leapark, which employs 79 staff, has two bars, a restaurant and a function room with capacity for 300 people.

However, SGE – owned by husband-and-wife team Jiwan Singh and Jasbir Kaur – has plans to refurbish and upgrade the hotel.

The financial package for the acquisition and the improvements has been provided by Santander Corporate Banking.

Gill Singh, son of the SGE owners and the day-to-day manager of the business, confirmed the company has been looking at a number of acquisition opportunities in recent years.

He believes the Leapark is an attractive addition to the SGE portfolio and is hopeful of making an impact in the Forth Valley.

He said: "I am confident that our in-depth knowledge of the hotel market in Scotland, coupled with strategic focus and active management, will enable us to revitalise the newest property in our portfolio and bring it back to its former glory."

Deborah Gallacher, relationship director at Santander Corporate Banking, has been impressed by the executives at SGE.

She added: "We have worked closely with the management team in identifying appropriate investment opportunities as part of their long-term plans.

"This acquisition represents an excellent opportunity within the hospitality sector and with SGE Hotels' proven track record, we expect them to make a real success of their latest project."

Dunoon-based SGE also has a sister travel company providing coach tours from the Midlands of England around the west coast of Scotland.

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