Goffs reports tough trading year as bloodstock group suffers €2.1m loss

THE country’s leading bloodstock auctioneers Goffs has reported tough trading conditions in the year to the end of March 2009.

Total sales excluding associates fell from more than €21 million in the year previously to €18m while the group suffered an operating loss of €2.13m compared with a profit of just under €1.9m in its last financial year.

Under the circumstances, Goffs is not paying a dividend to shareholders

Overall, the group suffered a loss of €3.38m for the year against profits of €515,000 in the previous year.

Chairman Eimear Mulhern noted the difficulties facing the group over the period.

While Goffs did very well from the “unprecedented boom” in Ireland, it was “affected most severely in the market downturn,” she said in her statement with the accounts.

The fall in overall income reflected the sharp decline in “ring turnover” across the group’s operations from €175m to €102.

Goffs Ireland ring sales fell from €115m to €65m during the year.

DBS, its British subsidiary, saw turnover fall from £42m (€46.5m) to £31m while pre-tax profits fell only marginally to £301,000.

Arqana, in which the group holds a 3% stake, did well boosting its profits to €3.4m in what the chairman described as a “very solid performance”.

Its International Bloodstock Finance (IBF) division, which lends to clients of the group, made profits of €158,000, she said.

Job cuts and other cost savings measures have been introduced to cope with the changed environment and Ms Mulhern said she hoped such action would “facilitate a return to paying dividends sooner” to the group’s shareholders.

In the savings arena, she said the discontinuation of the Million Race series, which delivered a “doubling of turnover and a trebling of profits at their height”, would make serious inroads into operating costs.

Overall the divisions of the group enjoyed success across the racing spectrum with horses sold in their various arenas making a major impact on the racing world, including Imperial Commander and Cooldine, two Grade 1 winners at Cheltenham this year.

The chairman also confirmed Goffs’ continuing interest in developing lands at Kill, where along with Esso, it has received planning permission on a nine acre site fronting the N7 motorway to include a petrol station, a hotel, restaurant and some retail space.

In a further development, the group has made an outline submission to Kildare County Council to cover its entire Kill site.

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