Business Irish

Thursday 14 December 2017

EP Mooney & Co group directors admit bank support needed after huge losses

Laura Noonan

THE EP Mooney & Co group booked property write-downs of close to €23m in the year before its massive car sales wing collapsed, new Companies' Office filings show.

Forecourt giant EP Mooney Ltd was one of the highest profile casualties of the recession, crashing out with debts of more than €22m last November as the car market crumbled.

Figures cited at the time showed the car sales division had lost €8.7m in 2008, but new documents lodged with the Companies' Office show its owner, EP Mooney & Co, lost more than €34m that year.

Owned by members of the Mooney family, the group includes the motor dealership, a property company that owns the dealerships' forecourts and Tallaght gym Westpark Fitness.

The massive group-wide losses came as EP Mooney & Co wrote down its investment properties by €17.5m and wrote another €5.4m off the remainder of its property portfolio.

EP Mooney & Co's Tallaght gym also became marginally loss making during the year, while group-wide operating costs jumped €5m and interest payments increased by €2m.

All in, the group reported bottom-line losses of just over €34m despite managing to keep revenues close to the €100m mark, a fall of less than 10pc year-on-year.

In notes to the accounts signed off in early June, EP Mooney & Co's directors admitted their group was "dependent on the continued support of its bankers" who are owed €77m.

"After making enquiries, the directors have a reasonable expectation that the company and the group have adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future," they add.

Despite the losses, EP Mooney & Co's balance sheet was still in positive territory at the end of 2008, with equity of €4.5m, though the company's lifelong retained earnings had been wiped out.

In the an interview after the motor dealership collapse, EP Mooney boss Paraic Mooney stressed that the liquidation of the motoring arm did not mean the end of the line for his group.

"The property side of the business is not in liquidation," he said. "So we will pick ourselves up and get some of our businesses re-established and get as many of our properties rented out as quickly as possible."

Irish Independent

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