The Irish Farmers Journal understands Farmers Business Developments (FBD) is completing due diligence for the outright purchase of the Killashee Hotel near Naas, Co Kildare.

Industry sources suggest it might be February or March before the sale is complete if the sale goes ahead. It is believed the cost will be in the region of €25m.

Nobody from FBD was available to confirm or deny the rumour. The last major acquisition on the hotel front for FBD was The Heritage, Killenard, outside Portlaoise. Under new management, it has gone from strength to strength since it came under the FBD umbrella.

About the Killashee

The 150-bed hotel on the outskirts of Naas is owned by the Tetrarch Capital Group and has been on the market for a while. Pre-COVID, the hotel was a favourite for hosting conferences and serving the corporate businesses in or around Naas.

In November, former Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president and chair of Farmer Business Developments Padraig Walshe announced that the company was to resume paying dividends for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic with the payment of a 10c per share interim dividend to its shareholders.

That decision will have meant over €5.2m was paid out to shareholders or over €1,000 each to over half of the company’s 4,400 mainly farmer shareholders who have the standard holding of 10,369 shares.

FBD is a farmer-owned investment fund – the largest shareholder in the quoted FBD Holdings.

FBD is playing in the higher end of quality hotels in Ireland. Already FBD owns Faithlegg in Waterford, Castleknock just outside Dublin, The Heritage, Killenard, and now possibly the Killashee near Naas. It also owns La Cala and Sunset resorts in the south of Spain.

The hotel and conference industry has suffered badly over the last two years as holiday makers and tourists are in short supply due to COVID-19 restrictions.