By Scott Wright

APEX Hotels has returned to profit in its most recent financial year, declaring that it had emerged from the pandemic as a “more resilient company” while underlining strong growth in Edinburgh and London.

The Scottish company, which has nine hotels located across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, London, and Bath, reported an operating profit of £2.9 million for the 12 months ended April 30, 2022 – a year that ended with the business trading free from restrictions. It said operating costs were supported by government support packages, including the furlough scheme, a grant, and business rates relief. Apex made an operating loss of £11.2m the year before.

Chief executive Angela Vickers said: “The results reflect that after a difficult period for the sector, we are emerging as a more resilient company and can look to the future with renewed positivity and optimism. We are seeing particularly strong growth across our London and Edinburgh hotels, two of the most popular destinations for international visitors, with occupancy already ahead of levels seen in 2019.

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“Against the backdrop of an uncertain economic outlook, rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, we are working hard to keep our costs down and to offer value to our guests.”

The new accounts for the company, owned by the Springford family, highlight a “material uncertainty” – relating to the renewal of bank lending facilities due in 2024 – that may impact its ability to continue as a going concern. However, auditors said the going concern basis of preparing the accounts adopted by the directors had been appropriate.

The accounts show pre-tax losses at Edinburgh-based Apex narrowed to £2.7m from £16.4m. Turnover leapt to £47.3m from £8m, despite the interruption brought by the Omicron outbreak in December 2021.

The company said it had exited the most recent financial year strongly, with occupancy rising to 64.3 per cent in the final quarter to April 30, compared with an average of 51.4% across the period.

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And directors said they “anticipate a cautiously optimistic outlook” for the industry, citing the continued strength of the leisure market across Scotland and London, and the recovery of the corporate market in the UK capital, though it expects a reduction in staycation demand in Bath.

Asked how the hotels have performed since year-end, Ms Vickers told The Herald: “From spring 2022 onwards, occupancy has remained positive largely driven by the continued growth of leisure guests visiting our hotels.”

She said that Apex was “working hard to keep our costs down and to offer value to our guests” amid the current economic uncertainty and cost-of-living crisis.

Ms Vickers added: “Bookings continue to grow, although we are seeing more guests choosing flexible booking options. It is also very encouraging to see our guests book further in advance, with lead times back to pre-pandemic levels.”

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The accounts state the company will have to refinance its debt facilities with Royal Bank of Scotland in February 2024 when its final coronavirus business interruption loan is due to be repaid. It noted this indicates a “material uncertainty… which may cast significant doubt on the group and company’s ability to continue as a going concern”.

“The directors have no reason to believe that RBS will not continue to be supportive, and they believe the facilities will be refinanced beyond February 2024,” the accounts state.

“However, the directors acknowledge that there is no certainty of this. Based on the above indications the directors believe it remains appropriate to prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis. However, these circumstances indicate the existence of a material uncertainty related to events or conditions which may cast significant doubt on the group and company’s ability to continue as a going concern and therefore, that the group and company may be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business.”


Apex states in the accounts that it has prepared cash flow forecasts to April 2024 which “indicate that the company will have sufficient funds through its cash balances and bank facilities to meet its liabilities as they fall due for that period.

The directors add: “The cash flow forecasts assume the refinance of the RBS facilities to allow for the repayment of the final CBIL due in February 2024.”

According to the accounts, the company had drawn £35.9m from an RBS term loan and £7.5m from an RBS revolving credit facility – both are due to mature in 2024.

Apex had net assets of £77.9m at year-end, down from £86.3m.

In addition to its debt with RBS, Apex has term debt facilities and a rolling credit facility of £4.35m with Bank of Scotland. The latter is reviewed annually and is next due to be renewed on April 30, 2024, after a review this month.

By April 30, £2.5m of the facility was utilised and Apex said its forecasts show the facility “will continue to be utilised in the going concern period”.

The accounts show the company employed an average of 708 people over the period, down from 754. Payroll costs increased to £17.4m from nearly £15m.

The company now employs around 1,000 people.

The accounts confirm that Apex has sold its three-star hotel in Haymarket, Edinburgh, “to focus on the competitive advantage it has within the four-star market”. The hotel had a carrying value of £3.4m on April 30.

The company noted that with renewed confidence in trading it had focused on its strategic priorities such as investing in technology to optimise back-office infrastructure and streamlining the guest experience, including the launch of the Apex Hotels & Rewards app.