‘High interest’ in sale of golf resort

The general manager of the five-star Doonbeg golf resort said yesterday that he has already received six enquiries in a 48-hour period from overseas investors looking to buy the resort.

‘High interest’ in sale of golf resort

Joe Russell was speaking two days after Luke Charleton and David Hughes of EY were appointed as receivers to the resort.

Mr Russell said: “Those who have expressed an interest in the business so far — I like what I am hearing... I know some of these people and businesses who have expressed an interest already.”

He said that “those that I do know have money”.

He has passed the queries on to the receivers at EY, who he said hope to complete the sale of the property in the next four to six weeks.

Mr Russell said he expects that EY would have received interest from investors directly as well.

The strong interest is understood to be split between 75% enquiries from overseas and 25% from Ireland.

The sale of the assets at Doonbeg is to include the Lodge hotel and the golf course, along with six unsold suites.

Mr Russell said his hope is that “we do get a suitable owner for Doonbeg — someone who has the vision and resources to take what is a fantastic tourism product to its next stage. We are still a young business”.

Mr Russell said the business has grown since 2009 and its accommodation, golf club, and resort have all continued to thrive “and had major gains last year”.

In an interview with Clare FM yesterday, Mr Russell said the resort business last year grew, with accommodation sales up by 20% and golf revenues up by 12%.

He said the accounts for 2013 are not yet finalised, “but the resort side of our business will be at break-even a little bit less at the end of 2013”. Mr Russell said that, based on current bookings, he anticipates further growth in 2014.

He confirmed the business had entered receivership due to legacy property issues.

In relation to weddings that had already been booked, Mr Russell said: “It is business as usual.”

It is understood that trade creditors to the resort are to be paid in full or the majority of the money owed.

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