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Writedown in hotel investment

The Dublin construction group that owns a 34.9% share in Liam Griffin’s hotel group wrote down its investment by 93% last year, "in light of prevailing market conditions".

The Noonan Group has a long association with the Griffin Hotel Group — first joining forces to purchase the Ferrycarraig Hotel in Wexford in 1991.

However, accounts filed by Noonan Group Holdings Ltd show it wrote down the value of its investment in the hotel group from €1.3m to €100,000 in the 12 months to the end of September last.

In 2011, Noonan had written down the value of its investment in the Griffin group from €3.8m to €1.3m.

A note attached to the 2012 accounts states that "the directors feel it is prudent to write down the investment in Griffin Group Hotels by 93% in light of prevailing market conditions".

Led by Liam Griffin, who brought the All-Ireland hurling championship to Wexford while manager, the Griffin Hotel Group operates the five-star Monart Spa Hotel in Kilkenny, the four-star Ferrycarraig Hotel, and the four-star Hotel Kilkenny.

The most recent accounts filed by the hotel group are for the 12 months to the end of Dec 2010, when it recorded pre-tax losses of €1.5m after revenues declined by 11%, from €16.4m to €14.6m.

The €1.35m writedown contributed to pre-tax losses of €2.38m at the Noonan Group in the 12 months to the end of September last. The group recorded losses of €11.7m in 2011.

This followed revenues at the group declining, from €1.65m to €1.16m, after the group’s housing subsidiaries recorded a total of seven house sales — it made 10 house sales in fiscal 2011.

The directors’ report states that the 2012 loss "has been materially impacted by an impairment charge of €1.77m reflecting the fall in value of land".

The report states that "we have now written our landbank down by over 52% cumulatively since 2007".

According to the accounts, Noonan’s bank loans were transferred to Nama in Oct 2010. The group reduced bank debt by 28.8% — to €30.7m — in 2012.
The directors’ report said that the business has "adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future".