Business Irish

Monday 26 September 2016

Blarney Woollen Mills to seal bank deal as it weaves back to profit

Gordon Deegan

Published 17/04/2015 | 02:30

The group operates some of Ireland's best known retail brands of Blarney Woollen Mills and the Meadows & Byrne chain of shops
The group operates some of Ireland's best known retail brands of Blarney Woollen Mills and the Meadows & Byrne chain of shops

The Blarney Woollen Mills Group is expecting to shortly strike a deal with its banks that will put the group "on a very strong financial footing".

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That is according to group director, Robert Reardon who said yesterday that the business traded successfully last year to record 'substantial' earnings.

Mr Reardon said that the deal with the group's lenders will involve the disposal of some non-core assets.

The group operates some of Ireland's best known retail brands of Blarney Woollen Mills and the Meadows & Byrne chain of shops employing 500.

Mr Reardon said that it will be a number of months before the arrangement with the group's banks is complete.

Mr Reardon was commenting on accounts filed by Blarney subsidiary, Bunratty Shopping Village Ltd that show that the firm recorded an operating loss of €317,018 in fiscal 2014 in spite of revenues increasing marginally from €4.1m to €4.27m.

The Bunratty Shopping Village Ltd operates the Bunratty Castle Hotel and Mr Reardon said that the hotel continues to trade "very well".

Blarney Woollen Mills is owned by members of the Kelleher business family, including Freda Hayes. It merged with Meadows and Byrne, which was founded by Ms Hayes in the mid-1990s.

The company that operates the group, Blarney Woollen Mills Group is unlimited and Mr Reardon declined to say what the group's revenues were in 2014.

Mr Reardon said that the profits enjoyed by the group last year were slightly higher than the profits enjoyed in 2013.

Mr Reardon said the group is emerging from a very difficult period since the end of 2007.

He said that this has involved "some job losses" as the group readjusted its costs commensurate with the drop in revenues.

Mr Reardon said that the overall financial state of the group is "very healthy".

He said that the group is projecting for growth in the current year with prospects boosted by the strong US dollar.

Disposal

The accounts for Bunratty Village Shopping Ltd said that the planned disposal or non-core assets is to reduce the group's loan obligations without adversely affecting its trading activities.

The Bunratty Castle Hotel is one of two hotels that the group operates with the second located at the group's Blarney HQ.

The accounts for Bunratty Shopping Ltd show that the firm recorded a pre-tax loss of €424,031 following a pre-tax loss of €5.5m in 2013.

The losses in 2014 included interest charges of €132,660 while the loss in 2013 arose from an asset write down.

At the end of January 2014, the firm had a shareholders' deficit of €8.9m.

The loss takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €96,029.

Irish Independent

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