Dalata Hotel Group expects its revenue in the quarter to the end of March to be down about 16% compared to the same time last year due to the "unprecedented" Covid-19 situation.

It said the combination of major public events being cancelled, the introduction of travel restrictions and the redefining of the use of hotels by both the Irish and UK governments has severely impacted the business over the last two week.

"We expect that to continue for as long as the current restrictions on movement and travel remain," the hotel group said.

In a trading update, Dalata also said that it will have to temporarily close several of its hotels in Ireland and the UK over the coming days and significantly reduce operating capacity at its remaining hotels. 

It is implementing a combination of reduced working hours for some employees as well as a progressive, temporary reduction of basic salary for those whose hours have not been reduced. 

The Dalata board has also taken reductions in basic pay and fees - these reductions will be in place for an initial two months and be reviewed on a rolling basis.

The company also said it has had to temporarily lay off a large number of employees for whom it currently has no work.

Welcoming the income support initiatives announced by the Irish and UK Governments in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the company said it will seek to avail of these schemes and retain the link between these employees and Dalata. 

"These staff members remain part of the Dalata team and the group looks forward to welcoming them back to work as soon as our business recovers," it stated.

As a consequence of the uncertain outlook and in order to preserve the Group's liquidity, Dalata said it has decided to withdraw its proposed final dividend of 7.25 cent per share.

Dalata said it has "significant financial headroom" with material cash resources of €80m post disbursement of quarterly rent and interest scheduled to be paid over the next few days. It can also avail of further undrawn committed debt facilities of approximately €65m. 

Datala's portfolio onsists of 30 owned hotels, 11 leased hotels and three management contracts with a total of 9,211 bedrooms.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak it was also developing 11 new hotels and had plans to extend two of its existing hotels, with a total of 2,871 bedrooms due to open over the next three years.

Pat McCann, Dalata's chief executive, said that this is an unprecedented situation, and the company is working hard to mitigate the implications for the business. 

"Our primary focus is on protecting our people, protecting our business and protecting our cash. We are looking to share the impact of the current crisis fairly between all stakeholders," he said. 

Mr McCann said the withdrawal of the proposed dividend and the recent fall in the share price is having a significant impact on Dalata's shareholders. 

"Our banking club is supporting us through an Amended Facilities Agreement. All our people will suffer income loss through either layoffs, reduced working hours or salary cuts. Likewise, our board is cutting its remuneration," he said. 

"We will be working with our other stakeholders to examine ways in which we can further protect our financial position in a fair and equitable manner," the CEO added.

Mr McCann said that Dalata is the strongest player in the Irish hotel market with a management team that has strong experience in managing through other major demand shocks and crises over the last 20 years. 

"While we have never experienced something of the magnitude of the Covid-19 outbreak before, we are well positioned to manage our way through this crisis over the coming months," the CEO said. 

"Our primary concern continues to be the health and wellbeing of our staff and our guests. Dalata continues to implement and follow the guidelines provided by the health services in Ireland and the UK as well as the World Health Organisation," he added.