independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Convention centre state contract is worth €248m

The 25-year government contract to run the National Convention Centre is valued at €248m, according to accounts for the company that operates the site.

The contract is the main asset of Spencer Dock Convention Centre Dublin, one arm of Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett's property empire. It's now part of the liquidation of property giant Treasury Holdings.

The National Convention Centre building itself is owned by the State but operated by Spencer Dock Convention Centre Dublin under a 25-year contract.

Under that agreement the Government will pay €48m a year for five years and €24m a year for a further 20 to the company for running the centre.

Liquidators

The annual payments from the State depends on the centre meeting monthly inspections, and can be withheld if the operator fails to maintain agreed standards.

The bulk of the income, around 90pc, will go to pay debts of close to €300m owed to six lenders, including NAMA and due to be repaid over 25 years.

So far liquidators from Grant Thornton have given no indication of their plans for the companies tasked with running the centre, however, they remain solvent and are therefore likely to be sold to help repay wider debts of the group.

Accounts for the business show it made an operating profit for the first time this year of €606,000 in the 12 months to the end of February.

Visitor numbers to the centre reached 400,000 over the past year – including 5,000 delegates who attended the highly praised International Bar Association Conference.

Irish Independent

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