Sunday 19 January 2020

Liabilities at Godolphin racing stable spiral to €190m

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Simon Rowe

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum continues to bankroll the Irish operation of his global thoroughbred horse racing stable Godolphin, despite incurring heavy losses.

A recently filed auditor's report to the directors of Godolphin Ireland Unlimited Company states the firm has amassed net current liabilities of €190m after recording an annual loss of €4.7m in 2015. However, the firm has cut its annual losses from the €5.2m loss incurred in 2014.

There is no fear over the financial future of his Irish operations, however, as the sheikh is very wealthy.

In fact, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has an estimated fortune of more than €18bn. He was one of the founders of the Emirates airline group and has been a key player in making Dubai a hub for international business over the past 25 years.

The sheikh is also the owner of the world's third-biggest yacht, a 162-metre vessel that cost around €370m.

His company Reliance Holdings Limited has given written confirmation that it will continue to bankroll the Irish operation.

It was recently revealed that Kildangan stud in Kildare - Al Maktoum's Irish-based breeding centre - has received more than €300,000 in single farm payments from the EU over the past two years.

The sheikh bought Kildangan in 1986, and the Kildare stud farm is only one strand of his extensive horse-breeding operations. His Darley stud group is one of the world's biggest producers of champion horses.

Kildangan stud farm received €162,047 in a single farm payment from the EU in 2015. The farm was allocated a payment of €152,120 in 2014.

Kildangan also received €122,254 in 2008 and €127,502 in 2009. It is believed Kildangan's farm payments have totalled more than €1m in the past decade.

His Godolphin firm also owns the Ballysheehan stud in Co Tipperary. Last December, Godolphin acquired the Victor stud - which includes a 170-acre farm - in Tipperary from Tom and Cathy Burns for €1.2m.

Sheikh Mohammed has maintained extensive interests in the horse-racing world ever since the early 1980s when he bought the Irish thoroughbred Appeal - which went on to produce nine winners.

One of Godolphin's most valuable breeding stallions is Dubawi, who has sired 24 major race winners, making him one of the world's top sires, surpassed only by Coolmore's peerless Galileo.

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