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Heavy going Goffs to sell assets as losses double

ONE of Ireland's main bloodstock auctioneers is to sell assets after its losses nearly doubled last year.

Goffs, which has had scores of classic winners sold at its auctions, recorded a loss after taxation of €6.47m for the year ended March 31. That compared with a loss of €3.38m the previous year. The loss was driven in the main by the company making a provision for bad debts of €5.7m. Overall income for the Goffs Group showed a drop from €17.6m to €14.7m on the back of a decline in ring turnover of a fifth to €81m.

In announcing the loss, Goffs said it plans to sell a 26.27pc stake in Arqana Holdings to Grenfell for €7.5m in cash, in a deal which "will secure the financial future of the company" according to Goffs chairman, Eimear Mulhern.

Arqana is an auction house best known for its yearling sales held every August at Deauville in the north of France. Grenfell is controlled by the Aga Khan who also holds a 40pc stake in Goffs.

A spokesman for Goffs denied that the deal was a distressed sale and pointed out that the firm was making a profit on the deal.

Ms Mulhern said that the downturn had played a huge role in the losses at the auction house.

"It has had a very severe impact on previously wealthy and credit-worthy buyers of bloodstock and has manifested itself in the need to make a very large exceptional provision against overdue debts," she said.

The results came a day after the conclusion of the annual Goffs Orby yearling sale which took in just over €22m this year, down marginally on 2009. The sales this year were buoyed by the presence of leading owners Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, who missed the sales last year, and Sir Robert Ogden.

Irish Independent