Profits up but car hire boss warns of Brexit and insurance costs risks
Pre-tax profits at one of the largest independently owned car rental firms in the country, the Dan Dooley Group, soared by 64pc to €1.8m last year.
Revenues at the Limerick-based group rose by 41pc from €23.25m to €32.75m in the 12 months to the end of November last.
The Dan Dooley Group operates car hire facilities at the country's main airports and operates a garage and car sales dealership in Knocklong, Co Limerick and Tipperary town.
According to group chief executive Pat Dooley, "the Dan Dooley Group had a strong year of growth in 2015 with operating profits of €2.26m up from €1.56m a year earlier".
He added: "This growth in profits was driven in part by a continuing growth in the car rental division revenue base and more significantly by the incremental revenue generated from the sale of new and used cars."
Mr Dooley said that during the early part of 2016, performance was in line with the 2015 experience, however a number of factors could impact performance going forward.
Mr Dooley said these include "the uncertainty surrounding Brexit likely to have a negative impact on car sales going forward driven by the ongoing weakness of sterling.
"This is already evident with the 162 registration numbers. This will also likely affect overall tourism from the UK in the medium term."
Mr Dooley said that also impacting business this year are "spiralling insurance costs in Ireland and the exorbitant claim costs, driven by the general claims culture in Ireland.
"This is a real cause for concern for the car rental industry".
Mr Dooley said that "the car rental division continues to grow on the back of growth in tourism across the country, where visitor numbers in 2015 were the highest ever achieved.
"Car sales - new and used - performed strongly in 2015 and were the primary driver of the improvement in the group's performance."
After recording the operating profits of €2.28m, the group paid out net interest payments of €479,741.
Numbers employed last year increased to 86 with staff costs rising from €2.76m to €3m.
James Dooley, Patrick Dooley and Daniel Dooley are listed as directors and directors' remuneration declined marginally from €317,163 to €316,263.
The group had shareholder funds totalling €14.42m.