Prize Bonds take downward turn after years of growth
SALES of Prize Bonds plunged last year, as the company saw business slip after several years of huge growth.
The company that runs Prize Bonds, the Prize Bond Company Limited, said gross sales tumbled 21.9pc to €311m. Net sales after repayments more than halved to €118.4m.
Prize bonds had become something of a safe haven during the first years of the downturn, as people can claim back their investments at any time, but that run now appears to have come to an end.
Despite the lower sales figures, company chairman John Daly said the number of individual purchases actually increased last year.
The prize fund grew 9pc to a record €1.5bn in 2011. The fund is up nearly 150pc since 2006, when it was worth only €589m.
Last year was the first significant setback for the company, which had seen rocketing growth in recent years.
Net sales surged more than 300pc between 2008 and 2009 alone.
The company paid out €42m in prizes last year, up 17pc on 2010.
Mr Daly shrugged off the fall in sales, describing 2011 as "yet another strong year for Prize Bonds", and pointed to the growth in the bond since 2006.
"We are pleased to report that 2011 was yet another strong year for Prize Bonds, building on significant growth achieved in the previous five year period.
"The last five years have been particularly successful for Prize Bonds which highlights the enduring appeal of the scheme which has been running for 54 years.
"Prize Bonds are a unique investment because holders have an opportunity to win in every weekly draw until the Prize Bond is encashed and they remain a popular gift which is suitable for many occasions," he added.