Sunday 22 July 2018

Car dealer O'Flaherty liquidates company

The O’Flaherty group imports and distributes cars across Ireland. Stock Image
The O’Flaherty group imports and distributes cars across Ireland. Stock Image
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

One of the country's most profitable private family businesses - car importer O'Flaherty Holdings - is being voluntarily liquidated.

The move could also see €265m in net assets at the company distributed among the company's shareholders, who include the wider O'Flaherty family.

A spokesman for O'Flaherty Holdings said the voluntary liquidation of the company is a corporate exercise designed to streamline the wider group operations. He stressed it would not impact the overall activity of the group. He was unable to say if the net assets at the company would be distributed to its shareholders.

The shareholders include O'Flaherty family entities in the Channel Islands.

The O'Flaherty business has two core elements - the important and distribution of vehicles, and the sale and servicing of vehicles.

The O'Flaherty group sells VW, Mercedes, Audi, Skoda, Porsche and Mazdas and dates back to 1949, when the late Stephen O'Flaherty secured a deal to assemble Volkswagen Beetles in Dublin - the first to be put together outside Germany.

The latest set of publicly available accounts for O'Flaherty Holdings show that its turnover soared to €459m in 2015 from €349.5m in 2014. Its profit after tax in 2015 was €27.8m compared to €20.3m in 2014.

An €8m dividend was paid that year to shareholders and O'Flaherty Holdings has paid out a total of more than €170m in dividends since 2009.

The shareholders include the founder's grandson, Stephen O'Flaherty, and Guernsey-based Michael O'Flaherty.

The main activity of the group continues to be the importation and distribution of motor vehicles, while it's also involved in the distribution of aerial equipment and the rental of construction equipment and tools.

In 2015, it exited a business in the United States that was involved in the fabrication and installation of custom heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Accounts for Motor Services Limited, a unit of O'Flaherty Holdings, show that it generated turnover of €157.4m in 2016, and an operating loss of €1.5m from continuing operations.

That compared to a €27,000 profit in 2015. Motor Services Ltd retails and services vehicles.

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