Saturday 10 December 2016

Doonbeg on course despite €5.8m losses

LEISURE

Gordon Deegan

Published 10/11/2011 | 05:00

The US backers of the Greg Norman-designed Doonbeg golf course said yesterday they remain as committed as ever to the project, as new figures show the resort recorded pre-tax losses of €5.8m last year.

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Accounts just filed by Doonbeg Investment Holding Company Ltd, show losses at the exclusive Co Clare resort last year narrowed from €7.7m to €5.8m, after revenues increased by 15pc from €7.84m to €9m in the 12 months to the end of last December.

According to Townsend Clarkson of US parent Kiawah Development Partners: "Kiawah is as committed as it ever was. We fully appreciate the difficult economic climate in which Doonbeg operates and we have been very pleased with progress made in recent years."

He added: "For the last couple of years, we have been conscious that it is going to take a little longer for the Doonbeg project to become profitable."

General manager at Doonbeg, Joe Russell, said yesterday: "We are confident that we will break even in operations in 2012. This will be achieved by continuing to grow our business and watch our costs."

Mr Russell said that "2014 would be the expected timeframe" in which the company anticipated it would record its first profit.

He added: "Overall, we were pleased with 2010."

He said that a 60pc increase in bed nights and 15pc increase in golf rounds helped reduce the company's losses by €2m.

The resort turned the corner in 2009 and it would "continue to do so". "We are confident that the business will continue to grow year on year," he said.

The resort has accumulated losses of €48m, with €24m relating to depreciation and other non-cash items. The losses have been funded by a capital contribution of €66m from its Kiawah parent, leaving shareholder funds of €17.7m.

Singer Andrea Corr had her wedding reception at the venue in August 2009 and Mr Russell said that there were 31 weddings at the venue last year.

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