Riverdance directors share €75m pay as show celebrates two-decade run

The creative forces behind the entertainment phenomenon Riverdance have shared a pay bonanza of €75 million since the turn of the century, figures show.

Riverdance directors share €75m pay as show celebrates two-decade run

The show — spawned from a seven-minute long interval performance at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest — is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and has been seen by more than 23 million people over the past two decades.

Now, new accounts just filed by John McColgan’s and Moya Doherty’s Abhann Productions Ltd with the Companies Office show that pay to directors, including pension contributions, in 2012 totalled €1.33m.

Abhann is the management firm for the Riverdance show and the firm’s directors’ pay contributed to the firm sustaining a pre-tax loss of €294,201 in the 12 months to the end of June 30th 2012.

An examination of Abhann Productions Ltd’s accounts between 2000 and 2012 shows that married couple, McColgan and Doherty shared directors’ pay, including pension contributions, totalling €75m with €73.76 million paid in the years between 2000 and 2011.

Three other people served as directors of Abhann with McColgan and Doherty over the period, however, the vast proportion of the directors’ pay would have been received by McColgan and Doherty who each own a 50% share in the business.

The two have been richly rewarded for their risk-taking — short of investors before the first Riverdance show was put on in February 1995, the two put their own home on the line.

After Joan Egan stepped down as director of Abhann in September 2012, McColgan and Doherty are now the only directors of the firm.

The accounts show that for 2000, the directors received €14m in remuneration and this followed by a payout to directors of €17.4m in 2001 — in 2000, the business generated €32.6m in revenues and this was followed by a massive €52.4m in revenues in 2001.

Directors’ pay declined from €6.1m in 2005 to €1.8m in 2009 before climbing to €2.5m in 2010.

The €1.37m in directors’ pay in 2012 — the most recent year available — is the lowest level of pay for McColgan and Doherty from Abhann in the 21st century.

Underlining the global popularity of the show over the years, the Abhann accounts show that the business generated revenues from its global performances of over €361m between 2000 and 2011.

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