Tuesday 11 December 2018

Spurling family takes control of Dublin cinema multiplexes

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Two of the country's busiest cinema complexes - Movies@Dundrum and Movies@Swords - have been brought under sole control of the Spurling family after they bought out their fellow shareholders in the venues.

The two multiplexes were opened more than a decade ago in a joint venture between the Spurling and O'Gorman families, both of which have been involved in the cinema business for at least two generations.

The O'Gorman family used to own the Ormonde cinema in Stillorgan, Dublin. They decided to sell their stakes in the Movies@ cinemas in Swords and Dundrum as the family retires from the cinema business.

The Spurling family also owns multiplexes in Gorey, Co Wexford, and Waterford.

The families teamed up to bid for contracts to run the Swords multiplex at the Pavilions shopping centre in north Dublin, and the multiplex at Dundrum Shopping Centre. The Swords cinema opened in 2006, while Dundrum opened in 2005. The families controlled the two companies behind the cinemas on a 50-50 basis.

Graham Spurling, a director of the cinema companies, confirmed that his family now have sole control of the two businesses, having bought out the O'Gormans with backing from AIB. He declined to reveal what the transaction valued the businesses at.

In the financial year to the end of August 2016, Movies@Dundrum recorded a pre-tax profit of €344,000, while Movies@Swords recorded a loss of about €60,000 that financial year.

Movies@Dundrum had retained profits of just under €5m at the end of August 2016.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Spurling said that refurbishment of both cinemas is underway.

He also said that the cinemas had experienced strong trading over Christmas, with a slew of movies including 'The Last Jedi', 'Jumanji' and 'Paddington 2', boosting visitor numbers.

"The whole thing was solid right across Christmas - it was great," said Mr Spurling.

He added that the cinemas in Swords and Dundrum had their best seven-day runs following Christmas "for years". That's even allowing for the launch of the first new Star Wars movie - 'The Force Awakens' - at Christmas 2015.

Mr Spurling said the movie line-up for coming months is strong.

Irish Independent

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