Business Irish

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Blockbuster year as Ward family movie firm enjoys €758,000 profit

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ whipped up receipts at the Irish box office
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ whipped up receipts at the Irish box office

Gordon Deegan

Blockbusters including 'Jurassic World', the 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' and 'Inside Out' helped one of the Ward family movie firms to boost its profits by over €750,000 last year.

New accounts filed by Irish Multiplex Cinemas show that accumulated profits rose from €7.23m to €7.99m in the 12 months to the end of October last. The firm is one of a number of Irish cinema firms operated by the Ward family who own the Savoy and Screen cinemas in Dublin with the Savoy playing host to many premieres here.

The firm has multiplexes in Dun Laoghaire, Athlone, Dundalk, Killarney and Ballymena.

The family firm's coffers were boosted by the largest grossing movies of the year including 'Fifty Shades of Grey' which enjoyed a box office gross of €2.69m in Ireland; 'Brooklyn' (€2.64m); 'Minions' (€4.25m); and the latest James Bond movie, 'Spectre' (€4.5m).

The firm's cash increased from €1.954 to €2.7m. Numbers employed fell from 44 to 42, made up of 32 in operations and 10 in administration. Staff costs reduced from €903,573 to €811,708 while remuneration to directors dropped from €45,000 to €7,500.

A separate Ward cinema firm, Irish Multiplex Cinema Tallaght, recorded profits of €182,233 in the 12 months to the end of April this year after it reduced its accumulated losses from €1.825m €1.64m.

The firm's cash reduced from €703,787 to €360,666. Numbers employed by the firm rose from 28 to 39 in the 12 months to the end of April this year. Staff costs increased from €496,119 to €570,606.

A note attached to the accounts states that the company had proceedings served against it in March 2015 by a supplier firm involved in the fit-out of the cinema in the period during 2011 to the opening in April 2012. The 13-screen outlet in the Square shopping centre in Tallaght reopened in 2012 after an investment of more than €6m.

The note states that the demand is for the amount of €339,290 with the note adding that the amount outstanding as per the claim is in dispute and the directors are to vigorously defend the claim. The directors confirm that the company has agreed to engage in mediation talks in connection with the claim which are scheduled for October of this year.

The Wards and Andersons controlled about half of the Irish cinema market between them until they went their separate ways in 2013.

Leo Ward and Kevin Anderson, who were half-brothers, first went into business together in the 1940s. The extended families fell out over plans by the Andersons to open a new cinema in Dublin to compete with their joint operations.

The Wards and other cinema owners here benefit from Ireland continually having the highest cinema admissions per capita in the European Union.

Irish Independent

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