Manchester United billionaire bidder’s hotel chain landed £3m in public Covid grants

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Lime Wood Group Ltd has been hit hard during the Covid pandemic, but the businessman is worth £6.075bn, according to the Sunday Times Rich 2022 list

Jim Ratcliffe, a 70-year-old business magnate, wants to buy Manchester United(AFP via Getty Images)

A hotel chain run by the tycoon bidding to buy Manchester United got £3.1m in public subsidies, despite the fact that he is worth billions.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Lime Wood Group Ltd received more than £1.5m during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

The Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest has rooms for £1,400 a night.

Sir Jim’s portfolio also includes the four-star Le Portetta hotel, which boasts “38 luxuriously welcoming rooms” in the French ski resort of Courchevel.

His firm made use of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan and Licensing Scheme. Sir Jim’s wealth was estimated at £6.075 billion on the 2022 Sunday Times rich list. But Forbes yesterday listed his real-time net worth as £12.72 billion, making him the 112th most rich in the world

Old Trafford could be redeveloped with new owners(Man Utd via Getty Images)

Monaco tax exile Sir Jim, 70, founder of chemical giant Ineos, has made a bid for majority ownership of United, who face Newcastle in today’s Carabao Cup final.

The latest Lime Wood accounts detail hotel closure dates during Covid. The accounts add: “During these lockdown periods… we have made use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

“At the height of the pandemic and our closures, we have used CJRS for over 200 staff. When we reopened, this was reduced to just a handful of employees remaining.


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