Bluchip hotel chain, which operates under the Leisure Inn brand, enters receivership

Cara WatersOctober 16, 20120 min read

Bluechip Properties, which owns a chain of hotels operating under the Leisure Inn brand and turns over $5 to $6 million a year, has slipped into receivership.

David Winterbottom of Korda Mentha has been appointed as receiver of the company, which owns properties including Hobart's Macquarie Inn and Woolmers Inn and Launceston's Penny Royal.

The Macquarie Inn has already been listed for sale by Korda Mentha.

Bluechip is owned by Sydney property mogul Kurt Braune and the Leisure Inn brand forms part of the 25-hotel StayWell Hospitality Group.

Richard Doyle, director of StayWell, told SmartCompany that Bluechip is a separate entity and Staywell manages the Bluechip hotels, a role which is continuing despite the receivership.

"The StayWell Group owns Leisure Inn brand and has licensed it to Bluechip Properties," Doyle says.

Doyle says his understanding is that the hotels are trading strongly but were tipped into receivership by existing debt obligations.

"The group got into difficulty because another entity associated with their group was involved in the collapse of an office facility in Sydney owned by New Invest, it was nothing to do with the management," he says.

"My understanding is the reason the group is in trouble is the bank was not paid under guarantee in relation to that property."

The major creditor is Bankwest.

Braune puts the reason for the collapse as an ongoing dispute with StayWell, which had been heard in the Supreme Court in March.

"We were continuing our negotiations with StayWell in good faith and thought we were just about there," he told The Australian Financial Review.

Braune said he had a good relationship with Bankwest until it called in receivers "out of the blue".

Winterbottom told SmartCompany the receivership has nothing to do with the trading of the hotels but would not comment further.

"All three hotels are trading very well and it is business as usual," he says.

Bankwest confirmed the hotel chain had entered receivership but had no further comment.

This article originally appeared on SmartCompany.

Cara Waters

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