Wetherspoons boss insists cross-border trade will flourish after Brexit as he splashes out £13million on new pub and hotel in Ireland
JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin today insisted cross-border trade with Ireland will flourish after Brexit as he announced his company’s biggest investment ever.
The pub chain headed by the vocal Brexit-backer will plough £13million into building a new hotel and pub in Dublin as it opens new bars in the UK.
The group already has 40 hotels in the UK and seven in Ireland – but the new 98-bedroom complex will be its largest and will provide 200 jobs.
JD Wetherspoon has shrugged off Brexit uncertainty to announce its biggest investment ever. Pictured: Chairman Tim Martin who backed Brexit
Development work on a row of derelict properties in the centre of Dublin will begin in February 2018, with the pub and hotel set to open early 2019.
JD Wetherspoon shares ticked up 1 per cent to £10.05 at the bell this morning.
Wetherspoon chairman Mr Martin, who donated £200,000 to Vote Leave before the referendum, told This Is Money: ‘Trade and investment will continue, inside or outside the EU, as the Brexit campaign has emphasised.
‘The biggest investors in the UK in the catering industry, for example, are American – Starbucks, McDonalds and others – and the EU and UK have no trade deal with America.
‘Wetherspoon has four pubs in the Belfast area and four in Dublin and plan to open more pubs in both cities.
‘Cross-border trade and investment will continue after Brexit, as the Irish and UK governments have made clear.’
JD Wetherspoon generated £1.5billion revenue with an operating profit of £108million in 2016
Since the Brexit vote, Mr Martin has accused the EU of bullying the UK and used several company updates to rip into German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former French president Francois Hollande and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
He has also lashed out at former chancellor George Osborne, the IMF, the Bank of England, the CBI, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and PwC, who he claims were too negative about the impact of a Leave vote.
Announcing the investment on Monday, he said of the Dublin site: ‘We are looking forward to developing the site into a fantastic pub and hotel.
‘It will be the biggest single investment undertaken by Wetherspoon and will result in our largest hotel alongside a superb pub.
‘Our pubs in the Republic of Ireland are thriving and we are confident that the pub and hotel will be a great asset to Dublin and act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in the city.’
The investment is part of a wider expansion of the FTSE 250 chain which generated £1.5billion revenue with an operating profit of £108million in 2016.
A host of new Wetherspoons pubs are set to open this summer including in Bexhill on Sea in East Sussex, Ramsgate in Kent, Biggleswade in Bedforshire and Gorleston in Norfolk.