Louis Fitzgerald’s hospitality group surges back into profitability

Louis Fitzgerald is the owner of one of the largest hospitality groups in the country. Photo: David Conachy

John Mulligan

Revenue at Louis Fitzgerald’s hotel and pub group nearly tripled in the 12 months to June last year to €55.7m as business surged after the pandemic.

It made a €14.5m profit compared with a €570,000 loss the year before.

Mr Fitzgerald owns a slew of well-known pubs and hotels, including the Stag’s Head and the Arlington Hotel in Dublin. His group employs about 1,000 people.

Last week, it was confirmed that Mr Fitzgerald and his wife Helen had agreed to buy Cork’s historic Imperial Hotel. The proposed acquisition has been referred to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The Imperial Hotel is currently part of the family-owned Flynn Hotels Collection, along with Dungarvan’s Park Hotel, The Old Ground Hotel in Ennis and the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny.

Mr Fitzgerald’s group also owns prime Dublin properties such as Bruxelles, Kehoes and The Louis Fitzgerald Hotel.

The group’s tangible fixed assets were valued at €128.3m at the end of June last year, which was up from €115.6m a year earlier.

The accounts also note that the group behind the business repaid all bank loans after the end of its financial year last June.

It received almost €5.9m in government Covid-related grants during the 2022 financial year, up slightly from the amount it received the previous year.

Earlier this year, Mr Fitzgerald secured planning permission to open a venue on the site of what was the Baggot Inn in Dublin. The location was until recently a KBC Bank branch. Mr Fitzgerald intends to open a pub and restaurant at the venue.

Last year, Mr Fitzgerald failed in a long-running battle with the Revenue Commissioners in relation to a €400,000 tax demand made in 2015 under the domicile levy rules.

A levy of €200,000 per year is payable by any individual who is domiciled in Ireland and whose worldwide income is more than €1m, if their Irish property is worth more than €5m and their tax liability for the year is less than €200,000.

Mr Fitzgerald had argued that he wasn’t liable for the domicile levy for the relevant periods because his worldwide income was zero at that time and the losses at his hotel business had reduced his income from other sources.

The Court of Appeal last year upheld previous rulings that he must pay the tax demanded.