Tuesday 20 February 2018

Ronan's equestrian company bucks trend with €2.5m profit


Emmet Oliver

THE eventing company owned by Johnny Ronan has moved back into the black and hopes to expand further by attracting sponsorship once its horses win some more competitions.

Mr Ronan and his daughter Jodie own and run Dargle Eventing Ltd, which is based in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

Despite Mr Ronan's challenges with his wider business empire -- which is now in NAMA -- Dargle has posted a profit of €2.5m for 2009, compared to a loss of €746,586 in the previous year.

The business is a personal firm of Mr Ronan and does not appear to be directly linked to Treasury Holdings or Real Estate Opportunities (REO), the listed property company that is majority-owned by Treasury.

Jodie Ronan is a well-known eventing specialist, often riding a horse called Dargle Looks. Her father Johnny is known in hunting circles as a rider. Several horses are believed to be part of the Dargle business.

The company's accounts state: "The directors expect the company to continue at current levels for the upcoming year, with a view to earning corporate sponsorship, once the horses achieve certain levels of competitive success."

Eventing is an equestrian event of dressage, cross-country and show jumping.

The Dargle business is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ardquade, a firm controlled by Mr Ronan. The Ardquade business also operates a wine-storage business.

It is not known if any of his personal assets have been pledged as part of the NAMA process. The Irish Independent recently reported that he had sold his private aircraft, but this was not prompted directly by NAMA, sources have claimed.

Mr Ronan, who stepped back from the daily operations of REO and Treasury some time ago, is one of the founding shareholders of both businesses, along with Richard Barrett.

REO, in particular is locked in vital negotiations over the Battersea power station in central London. A loan held on this asset by Bank of Ireland and NAMA recently matured, but the banks have not called it in.

It is reported in the UK that REO has been given a waive on repaying the loan on maturity and talks over Battersea continue. A fresh investor is being sought for the project by REO.

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