Friday 20 July 2018

'Business never as good' at Dromoland

Dromoland Castle
Dromoland Castle

Gordon Deegan

Dromoland Castle reported record revenues last year of €21.7m and "business has never been as good", according to the five-star resort's general manager Mark Nolan.

The castle is currently undergoing a €20m refurbishment. Costs associated with the revamp resulted in a pre-tax loss last year of €3.47m. Accounts by Dromoland Castle Holdings Ltd show it booked a €4.96m cost from the refurbishment.

The recent appointment of a receiver to businessman Dr Anthony O'Reilly's 6.8pc share of the Co Clare resort "has no impact operationally on the hotel", chief financial officer Joe Hughes said.

"It doesn't affect us operationally. It is unfortunate from a personal perspective, but it has no impact operationally on the hotel."

Accounts for 2017 show that Mr O'Reilly's son Gavin stepped down from the Dromoland board at the end of last year.

Mr Hughes said the appointment of the receiver removes a degree of uncertainty and "the receiver will probably endeavour to sell the shares".

Dromoland's operating profit in 2017 - before exceptional costs and depreciation - was €3.62m - up 4pc or €125,000 on 2016 as revenues increased by 3pc last year after a surge in US visitors. Mr Nolan said: "We had a very strong growth on our average room rate."

The firm also operates the castle and adjoining Inn at Dromoland. Mr Hughes said that the average room rate at the castle is €330 a night and as high as €600 in July-August.

The company last year declared a dividend of €250,000.

At the end of last year, the Dromoland firm had shareholder funds of €20.2m that included accumulated profits of €9.62m.

Costs for the 400 staff increased from €8.6m to €9m and directors' remuneration totalled €70,054.

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