Druids Glen golf course makes a return to profitability

DRUIDS Glen golf course, which was the setting for the infamous golf game between former taoiseach Brian Cowen and former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean FitzPatrick, has returned to profitability.

Accounts just filed by Druids Glen Golf Club Ltd to the Companies Office, confirm that losses widened at the Co Wicklow company from €3.8 million to €5.2m in the 12 months to the end of December 2010.

However, a note attached to the accounts states that increased costs caused the losses last year and “the majority of these costs were exceptional and incurred as a result of restructuring the organisation to place the company in a better position for the future”.

It states: “These changes have been evidenced in 2011 where the golf course has returned to sustained profitability.”

Revelations about the July 2008 golf game and dinner at the Co Wicklow golf resort created a political storm for the former taoiseach and in the Fianna Fáil-led coalition government before this year’s general election.

Separate accounts filed by a related company, Obalus Hotel Company Ltd that operates the five-star 145 room Druids Glen Hotel and Country Club, also show that the company “will achieve overall profitability during 2011”.

The figures show that Obalus recorded a pre-tax loss of €1.58m last year and this followed a pre-tax loss of €652,957 in 2009. The abridged accounts show that the company’s gross profit declined from €5m to €4.7m last year.

The hotel employed 123 people at the end of 2010 and according to their report “the directors are extremely satisfied with the performance of the Obalus Hotel Company Ltd”.

They state: “Whilst acknowledging the increased losses over 2009, operational losses were significantly reduced by approximately €500,000. The company incurred increasing costs during this period which were exceptional costs as part of the company’s restructuring programme.

“This was implemented to place the company in a better position for future trading. The company will achieve overall profitability during 2011.”

The report confirms that during the year, “the company entered into a termination agreement with Marriott International BV to terminate the operation of the hotel under the Marriott brand. The company intends to directly manage the hotel in the future with an aim to achieving improved trading performance”.

Net liabilities at the company totalled €7.4m at the end of last year. Staff costs at the firm totalled €2.9m.

The filings show that the company entered a 26-year lease in 2002 for the rental of the hotel with an annual rent of €2m and a portion of rent has been waived since the lease commenced.

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