Business Irish

Wednesday 7 December 2016

The founder of EMPG has pumped €3.5m into own hotel

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

Published 15/01/2010 | 05:00

Barry O'Callaghan invested a substantial sum into Cliff House - the
boutique hotel with a spa that he owns in Co Waterford
Barry O'Callaghan invested a substantial sum into Cliff House - the boutique hotel with a spa that he owns in Co Waterford

Barry O'Callaghan, the Irish entrepreneur who this week admitted losing millions in the media company EMPG, has pumped €3.5m into the Cliff House -- the boutique hotel he owns in Co Waterford.

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According to the latest accounts for the company behind the hotel, Valshan Limited, Mr O'Callaghan was provided with hotel management services worth €3.5m by the firm in 2008.

The hotel company now owes Mr O'Callaghan almost €3.6m, up from just €906,362 the year before.

The company's accounts were lodged three days before Christmas and show cash shrinking from €784,323 to €17,890 at the company which runs the 39-bedroom property.

Accumulated profits dropped from €566,162 to €532,622. O'Callaghan, who is also the chief investor in Dublin restaurant Bentley's, was the biggest creditor of the company at year end.

The company had an overdraft of €610,102 in the year under review, which was repayable in one year or less. This was up from €74,665. The directors of the company took no remuneration.

Some press reports have suggested that Mr O'Callaghan has invested more than €20m in the hotel.

This week the property, located in Ardmore, was charging €300 a night for a balcony suite and €225 for a deluxe sea view.

Mr O'Callaghan confirmed yesterday that the Education Media & Publishing Group (EMPG) was about to undergo a major balance sheet re-structuring and he admitted existing shareholders would be the chief losers.

"Nobody has lost more on paper than I have. Obviously I'm disappointed for my fellow shareholders, but I can't be blamed for things I can't control, and unfortunately state budgets are things I can't control," he said.

"I looked very smart through September of 2008," he told the 'Financial Times'. EMPG is heavily dependent on education spending in the US.

EMPG, which is the result of two major leveraged M&A deals, had debts of €8bn last year and suffered a series of damaging credit rating downgrades.

Irish Independent

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