The Sefton Group has paid back a £1.3 million loan from the government – one year after it was originally due.
Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan confirmed the repayment at Tuesday’s sitting of Tynwald.
Jason Moorhouse (Arbory, Castletown and Malew) asked him what the balance of the government loan was and the minister said that on May 3 ’the full amount of the loan in principle and accrued interest was repaid by the Sefton Group to Treasury’.
That came to £1,366.95.89.
Kate Beecroft (LibVannin, Douglas South) wanted to know when the loan was originally due to be paid and how an extension was granted.
Mr Cannan said: ’The loan, as far as I know, was due in April 2018. At that point a 12-month extension was granted to the Sefton Group, which was granted by me, as the Treasury minister.’
Last year Auldyn Properties, the group’s biggest shareholder, bought the Middlemarch site in Douglas back from the government for £3.96m, five years after the Allan Bell administration sanctioned its purchase as part of a rescue package that saw it buy the land with a five-year lease back.
The loan to the Sefton Group was part of the same package.
Also last year the group signed a memorandum of understanding with Auldyn Properties, signalling the intention to move the Palace Hotel and Casino from its seafront site to the Middlemarch site, Walpole Street and Fort Street.
When the sale back of Middlemarch site went through Chief Minister Howard Quayle insisted it was good business, representing a £766,540 profit on the £3.2 million figure the government spent buying the land in 2013.
This month the Sefton Group announced that the Sefton Hotel, next to the Gaiety Theatre on Douglas seafront, was to be sold to Douglas Hotel Holdings Ltd for £7.6m.
It forms a freehold sale and leaseback deal with a lease term of 20 years, but with a right for the Sefton Group to extend this for a further 20 years.
Last year the group sold another of its assets, the former Castle Mona Hotel, to the Tevir Group for £1.21m.
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