Sunday 18 August 2019

Storm Ali's impact sends losses soaring at National Ploughing firm to €500,000

‘Beyond our control’: Firm MD Anna Marie McHugh. Photo: Barry Cronin
‘Beyond our control’: Firm MD Anna Marie McHugh. Photo: Barry Cronin

Gordon Deegan

The impact of Storm Ali last year sent pre-tax losses soaring to almost €500,000 at the company which operates the National Ploughing Championships.

The storm last September forced organisers of the event staged at Tullamore to cancel the biggest day of the three-day event and incur additional costs by putting on an extra day on the Friday.

New accounts filed by The National Ploughing Association of Ireland Company Ltd show the full affect of Storm Ali as pre-tax losses at the company increased almost ninefold from €55,865 to €494,370 in the 12 months to the end of January 31, 2019.

The National Ploughing firm incurred the sharp rise in losses after revenues decreased by 12pc from €5.6m to €4.97m.

Revenues are made up of gate receipts, exhibitors' fees and sponsorship for the event.

Commenting on last year's financial performance, managing director of the National Ploughing firm Anna Marie McHugh said that it was "obviously very disappointing".

"But this was due to circumstances beyond our control last year and we had to cancel our biggest day of the three-day event on the Wednesday due to the weather event - Storm Ali," she said.

"We also had to put on an extra day and this extra cost was not factored into the original pricing.

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"However, we were delighted to be able to hold the extra day for our exhibitors and the public. We are also very grateful of everyone that was involved in the lead-up to the weather impact and the clean-up operation."

Preparations are well advanced for this year's event, with around 250,000 people expected to attend the 88th National Ploughing Championships in mid-September at Ballintrane, Co Carlow.

Ms McHugh said: "We are delighted to say that this year's exhibition is on a par if not bigger than 2018.

"We are very grateful to all our exhibitors again for their support this year."

The event continues to have worldwide appeal with exhibitors, international buyers and visitors from far-flung countries such as Turkey, the US, UK, Germany, India, Poland, Belgium, New Zealand, France, Saudi Arabia, Latvia and the Netherlands due to attend. 

The National Ploughing company's after-tax loss was €608,741 in the 12 months to the end of January 31 this year, compared with €81,445 in the prior year.

However, in spite of the loss last year, the National Ploughing firm's balance remains very strong.

At the end of January this year, the firm was sitting on accumulated profits of €13.3m.

The firm's cash pile increased from €1.47m to €1.7m and its investment totalled €11m.

Directors' pay totalled €220,393. The company employs 11 people, including directors, and staff costs totalled €557,649.

Irish Independent


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