Tuesday 23 January 2018

Iconic retailer Arnotts sees turnover rise to €120m as takeover battle rages

Arnotts staff, Cintia Tanno, right, and Sara Hollingsworth. Photo: Damien Eagers
Arnotts staff, Cintia Tanno, right, and Sara Hollingsworth. Photo: Damien Eagers

Paul O'Donovan

Sales at Arnotts, which is at the centre of a takeover battle between its two owners, topped more than €120m in the 12 months to the end of January 2014.

According to new accounts just filed for the company, turnover was just under €12.1m during the firm's 2014 financial year, which ran for the 12 months to January 26. This compared with sales of €117m for the 2013 financial year and €118.8m the year before.

Excluding exceptional gains made from a write-back worth €10m, the retailer made a profit of about €2.5m for the financial year before interest and taxes.

This compares favourably with previous years when the company was losing millions, although the firm was still in the red due to the cost of servicing its legacy debt, which stood at €383m when the accounts were filed.

This debt has since been bought by two owners, US investment giant Apollo and an investment company led by solicitor Noel Smyth called Fitzwilliam Finance Partners. It is understood that both sides want to control 100pc of the business and a process is currently under way for one owner to buy out the other.

Arnotts chief executive Ray Hernan said that although he is unsure of the current status of the negotiations, he would like to see the issue resolved as soon as possible.

"I would like to see the owners resolve the issue sooner rather than later, they have both accepted that it is in the best interests of the company for it to have one owner and we are encouraging them to bring it [a solution] to fruition as soon as possible," he said.

Mr Hernan said that he was pleased with the performance of the company in its 2014 financial year and added that he is expecting 2015 to be even stronger. "It's too early to say how we'll do at the end of the year [but] 2015 has been our best start for sales in a number of years," he said.

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