Irish News

Tuesday 22 July 2014

St Vincent de Paul loses €34m over writedown in its property values

Gordon Deegan

Published 28/03/2014|02:30

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Annual accounts for that year show that the chief factor behind the loss was a €34m writedown in value of properties across its country-wide portfolio. Thinkstock Images
Annual accounts for that year show that the chief factor behind the loss was a €34m writedown in value of properties across its country-wide portfolio. Thinkstock Images

ONE of Ireland's best-known charities, St Vincent de Paul, incurred a loss of €37.5m in 2012, new figures show.

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The charity's annual accounts for that year show that the chief factor behind the loss was a €34m writedown in value of properties across its country-wide portfolio.

Even before the property writedown is taken into account, the annual accounts show that it recorded a loss of €3.1m in 2012. This followed a surplus of €1.57m in 2011.

The loss came as donations from the public and Government decreased, while its spend on its activities increased from €78.3m to €81.2m.

The spend included €42.9m on providing assistance to families and individuals, €29.4m on other charitable work, while management, support costs and administration increased from €6.8m to €8.2m.

The SVP's cost of generating funds increased in 2012 from €755,000 to €990,000.

The figures show that the society received €7m in bequests from deceased people in 2012 – down on the €8.9m received in 2011.

A spokesman for the SVP said that legacies and bequests were important and had accounted for 10-11pc of income over the last number of years.

On the €34.3m writedown, the spokesman said that "the decline in the property value is not an issue as the value of the property to the society is in their use, rather than their monetary value".

The property is used by the society for its charitable work and includes charity shops, hostels for the homeless, daycare and community resource centres, sheltered housing and national and regional offices.

The society carries out a revaluation of its properties every three years. In spite of the property writedown, the charity's balance sheet remains in robust health, with net assets totalling €164m that includes cash of €74m.

The society received €10m in 2012 from Government and local authorities.

The accounts show that the society's national director, Kieran Murphy, received a salary, including pension, in the range of between €115,000 and €125,000 in 2012.

A spokesman for the charity said yesterday that the remuneration "would rank below many CEOs in charities of similar size and range of activities".

He said Mr Murphy's salary was below midway on the scale between €115,000 to €125,000 and included a pension element, adding: "In common with other staff, the national director availed of a defined contribution pension scheme, to which the society contributes a maximum of 5pc of salary."

The spokesman said: "No bonus was paid as there is no bonus element attached to the national director's remuneration. No company car is provided and only vouched out-of-pocket expenses were paid in accordance with the society's strict expenses policy."

PAY FREEZE

A pay freeze has been in operation across the SVP since 2009.

The figures show that donations from the public decreased from €42.2m to €39.44m and the spokesman said that the decrease "reflected the economic circumstances at the time".

The SVP directly employs 628 and the SVP's staff costs in 2012 totalled €18.3m. However, the charity is also reliant on 12,000 volunteers to deliver its services in looking after the needy and the accounts state that it is not possible to quantify the value of these services to the society.

Irish Independent

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