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'Riverdance' duo still reeling in millions 18 years on


'RIVERDANCE' continues to generate millions of euro for its creators, John McColgan and Moya Doherty, 18 years after it was conceived as a seven-minute interval show at the 1994 Eurovision song contest.

New figures show that the creative forces behind the entertainment phenomenon shared remuneration of €1.45m last year. This follows remuneration of €2.5m the previous year.

The returns by Abhann Productions and subsidiaries show that its pre-tax profits increased more than four-fold from €1.4m to €5.95m in the 12 months to June 30, 2011.

The main factor behind the profit is an exceptional gain of €6.24m as a result of McColgan and Doherty waiving €6.24m in loans due to them from an Abhann Productions Ltd subsidiary, RD Productions.

The figures show that revenues at Abhann Productions more than halved last year from €28.3m to €13m.

The drop in revenue is due to the dramatic scaling back of touring in the US and Europe last year.

The figures show that 'Riverdance' generated revenues of €2.3m in Europe last year compared to €13.6m in 2010 with revenues in the US almost halving last year from €12.2m to €6.2m.

However, the development of new markets in South Africa where revenues of €1.1m were generated and Australia, where income of €1.1m was recorded, boosted revenues. Revenues from Asia dropped from €2.2m to €2m.

Next month, 'Riverdance' begins a 10-week, 24-city tour of China that will play to audiences totalling 86,000. Earlier this year, the show performed in South America for the first time.

The returns show that the firm recorded an operating loss of €264,389 following an operating profit of €1.39m in 2010.

The operating loss takes account of the €1.45m in remuneration to Mr McColgan, Ms Doherty and a third director, Joan Egan, who does not have share in the business.

Cost of sales reduced from €22.7m to €9.74m while administrative expenses dropped from €4.2m to €3.5m.

The directors state that they are satisfied the results for the year are consistent with expected levels.

They added: "As for many businesses of this size, the industry in which the business operates continues to be challenging."

€10.7m was generated from stage show income, €1.2m profit share from the development of live theatrical production; €653,728 in merchandising income and €415,745 in 'other income'.

Irish Independent