Friday 18 January 2019

Birrane's UK-based Peer Group sets €285m target for property portfolio


Martin Birrane, head of the Peer Group.
Martin Birrane, head of the Peer Group.

John Reynolds

Mayo property tycoon Martin Birrane aims to increase the property assets of his London-based company Peer Group to €285m, up from their current value of €220m.

A statement in the firm's latest set of accounts, for the 12 months to the end of last July, said: "The directors anticipate making further significant acquisitions through the 2018 financial year to grow its property portfolio towards £250m (about €285m)."

The statement added that the firm had sold one property during the 2017 financial year, for just under €10m, and had spent €5.2m buying two properties in the south of England, one of which is an industrial one adjoining another it already owns in Kent.

Birrane, from Ballina, has grown the business over the past 35 years from just £280,000 of assets, buying and selling sites and developing properties including a number in London's docklands, over the years. The firm made a profit of €11.1m and saw the value of its properties increase by €5.9m last year. Its net assets are €130m.

Its profit was down significantly from last year's €25m, which had been boosted by a substantial increase in the value of its properties. However turnover for the firm, in the form of rental income, was up slightly - from €12.75m in 2016 to €14m for last year.

Peer Group owns a London office and events space building, The Hop Exchange, as well as a number of other commercial and industrial properties there and in the south of England. There is also Eldon Gardens, a shopping centre in Newcastle, and a beach-front site in Brazil intended for a hotel and holiday resort development.

Last year, Birrane applied for planning permission to build a €27m hotel, townhouses and holiday home development at Clonea Strand, near Dungarvan on the Waterford coast and close to the Waterford Greenway.

Birrane's Mondello Park, the country's only international motorsport venue, will this year celebrate its 50th anniversary with a number of events in May.

The Kildare business, which the 82 year-old avid car collector has owned since 1986, employs up to 70 people.

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