Tuesday 24 April 2018

Profits spiral to €5.4m at Convention Centre firm

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen (centre) with Johnny Ronan (left) and Richard Barrett at the opening of the convention centre in 2010
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen (centre) with Johnny Ronan (left) and Richard Barrett at the opening of the convention centre in 2010

PROFITS increased nine-fold last year for the company that runs the National Convention Centre to €5.4m

Spencer Dock Convention Centre Ltd saw profits rise after revenues increased by 25pc to €24.1m in the 12 months to the end of February 28 2013, accounts just filed with the Companies Office show.

The firm recorded operating profits of €606,123 in 2011.

The Convention Centre is state-backed but the contract to run it is held by a subsidiary of the much bigger Spencer Dock Development Company, which is in liquidation.

Spencer Dock Development Company was owned by Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett of Treasury Holdings and the property developer Harry Crosbie, but is now under the control of liquidators from Grant Thornton. Last year's boost in profits comes after the venue clocked up 340,000 "delegate days" or visitors last year – an increase of 112pc from the previous year.

"Since the Convention Centre opened, we have brought over 700,000 delegate days to Dublin, with major benefits to the broader economy in spending on hotels, restaurants, transport and other things," chief executive Nick Waight said yesterday.

The firm had a shareholders' deficit of €26.3m at the end of February. The accounts give a book value of €248m to the centre.

The Convention Centre was built in 2010 under a public-private partnership agreement between the Spencer Dock Development Company and the Office of Public Works.

The agreement was to build a convention centre in Dublin and run it over a 25-year period. At the end of that period, the property would be handed over to the State.

The company has bank loans totalling €210m and the report states that the company is in the process of concluding discussions with lenders.

Gordon Deegan

Irish Independent

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