Griffin's loss quadruples to €1.4m in 'hell of a year'
THE MANAGING director of Griffin Group Hotels, Liam Griffin, said yesterday that the group turned in an "extraordinary performance" last year despite quadrupling its losses.
Wexford's former All-Ireland winning hurling manager was speaking after the publication of the group's 2009 accounts, which show losses increased more than four-fold to €1.4m on the back of revenue that decreased by 21pc to €16.4m.
The group operates the award-winning Monart Destination Spa near Enniscorthy, Hotel Kilkenny and Ferrycarrig Hotel outside Wexford town.
Mr Griffin pointed out yesterday that the loss was made up of a depreciation cost of €1.18m and a cash loss of only €220,000. The total included bank-loan repayments of €522,756.
He said the group's performance was in line with expectations, given the current financial difficulties facing the hotel and leisure industry.
"It was one hell of a difficult year and all of the stakeholders in our group: management, staff and suppliers did a fantastic job and all made sacrifices," he said.
"I am now working harder, faster and stronger -- working seven days a week to help keep the show on the road."
The group employed 333 people at the end of last year -- a drop of 60 on 2008 -- and Mr Griffin confirmed that staff had taken pay cuts of between 7.5pc to 10pc, with management taking comparable cuts.
Staff costs last year declined by 16pc, or €1.4m, from €8.8m to €7.4m.
"The challenge we face, in sporting parlance, is that every morning we get up for work it is like being 15 points down and playing into the wind, but I have to pay tribute to the tremendous loyalty our customers have shown us. Without them, we wouldn't be here,'' Mr Griffin added.
He called on the Government to address the overcapacity in the hotel industry, calling it "the elephant in the room."
Griffin Hotels paid an average of €10,000 a week in rates last year and faced a similar bill in 2010 -- something that he described as "draconian and not doable".