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Shannon Development aims to break even after 2011 cash loss

SHANNON Development's cash loss last year decreased significantly and the agency is aiming for a break-even position in 2013, chief executive Dr Vincent Cunnane has said.

Dr Cunnane described the financial performance of the agency as "going in the right direction" and added that the agency "has nothing to fear" from two separate and ongoing government departmental reviews of its activities.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is carrying out an internal review into the agency's industry promotion function, with the agency's tourism promotion role subject to an independent review by consultants following a decision by Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar has said that the future role of Shannon Development "is tied up" with what decision he makes on the future of Shannon Airport -- the agency has expressed its interest in having an ownership and operational role in an independent Shannon.

Figures show that Shannon Development -- which directly employs 110 people -- incurred a pre-tax loss of €16.5m in 2010, which included a €4.5m write-down in property assets and a depreciation charge of €9m to give a loss of €2.3m.

Dr Cunnane said that the agency's accounts for 2011 are not finalised, but that the cash loss "is significantly less than the loss for 2010". He confirmed the agency incurred further writedowns and depreciation charges on its extensive property portfolio, which includes the Shannon Free Zone, in 2011.

"We are matching our income to our output. There is a small amount that we haven't managed to bridge, but we are working to bridge that," he said.

Irish Independent