Monday 22 January 2018

Setanta Ireland slashes losses to €6.9m

Peter Flanagan

THE COMPANY which operates the Setanta Ireland TV channel narrowed its losses by nearly 43pc in 2008, but still posted a loss of almost €7m.

According to accounts just filed with the companies office, Setanta Sports Channel Ireland Limited recorded a loss before tax of €6.95m for the year ended December 31, 2008 on the back of turnover which increased 36pc to €36.3m.

This was a significant improvement on 2007, when the company lost nearly €13m on revenue of €26.6m and accumulated losses increased by €7m to €36.3m.

A spokesman claimed operating losses for 2009 had been reduced to around €1m. Staffing increased by 15 to 85, with wages increasing by more than €500,000.

The accounts do not show the full implications of the recession on the broadcasting business, however, which didn't take full effect until 2009.

In June of that year, Setanta Ireland's parent company, Setanta Sport Holdings, fell into receivership as the UK arm of the company, which had held broadcasting rights to the English Premier League, collapsed.

Following this, the Irish business was moved out of the parent company.

Concert promoter Denis Desmond took a 60pc stake in it through his Gaiety Investments vehicle -- the remainder is owned by Setanta founders Leonard Ryan and Mickey O'Rourke, plus long-time Setanta executive Mark O'Meara.

The directors are said to be satisfied that funding requirements for this year will be met.

They said: "During the year, the development of the business and its financial position at the year end was in line with expectation and the major operating financial targets were achieved."

The major focus of the business going forward would be "to continue to grow production and advertising revenues". The station, which is available on most cable and satellite packages in the country, remains "dependent on multiple third party providers in order to secure delivery of its channels to subscribers".

"Were any of these providers unable to continue to provide services, this would impede the company in the delivery of its channel to subscribers in the short term. However, the directors believe that the probability of such service failures occurring is low."

Irish Independent

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