Wednesday 13 December 2017

Doonbeg set for 'banner year', says Trump's son

Eric Trump at his father’s hotel and golf course in Doonbeg, Co Clare. Photo: Press 22
Eric Trump at his father’s hotel and golf course in Doonbeg, Co Clare. Photo: Press 22

Gordon Deegan

Next year will be a 'banner year' for the Donald Trump-owned Doonbeg resort in Co Clare after its strongest year to date in 2016.

That is according to Eric Trump, son of US President elect, Donald Trump, who was commenting yesterday on new accounts filed by Trump International Golf Club (TIGL) Ireland Enterprises Ltd with the Companies Office which show that the firm recorded pre-tax losses of €2.5m last year.

The Trump organisation purchased the property for a reported bargain €15m in February 2014 and Eric Trump said yesterday that the Trump firm has invested close to €25m into upgrading the resort during 2014 and 2015.

Eric Trump pointed out that during both 2015 and 2016, the resort was partially under construction and therefore not operating at full capacity.

"We are incredibly excited for 2017 and are confident it will be our banner year with a tremendous amount of business already in the books," he said.

The directors' report attached to the accounts states that as a result of the redevelopment "annualised turnover will increase and that the company expects to report operating profits in the second half of 2016 and onward".

In spite of the loss incurred in 2015, Eric Trump said: "2015 was an amazing year for Trump Doonbeg. We spent millions of euros transforming this property into one of the finest hotels anywhere in the world.

Mr Trump said: "Between the golf course and the property alone, every aspect is absolutely stunning and we couldn't be more proud of the end result.

"Despite the fact that the property was undergoing a renovation during part of the year, 2016 was the strongest year in the history of the property."

Last year, the gross profits at TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd reduced by 11pc to €3.68m as the upgrading continued.

The €2.5m pre-tax loss for last year included a non-cash depreciation charge of €1m.

The newly-redesigned golf course opened this summer and Mr Trump said: "The Trump family couldn't be more pleased with the performance. Year to date we have seen an extra 3,488 golf rounds. UK and European rounds are up 25pc over 2015 and we are budgeting a further increase in 2017 when golfers will reap the benefits of our redesigned course."

The general manager at the resort, Joe Russell, said: "The Trump family is incredibly committed to the success and continued growth of this property. Eric Trump - who led the acquisition and is responsible for overseeing the development - has been, and continues to be, intimately involved in every aspect of the resort's redevelopment and operation."

On the impact Mr Trump's election has had on business, Mr Russell said: "The Trump brand is hotter than ever and business and Trump Doonbeg continues to perform exceptionally well." Numbers employed at the resort last year increased by three to 211 with staff costs totalling €4.6m.

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