Irish Infrastructure Fund wins events centre contract

The government-backed Irish Infrastructure Fund (IIF) has been selected as the preferred bidder for the landmark Convention Centre in the Dublin Docklands.

Irish Infrastructure Fund wins events centre contract

IIF was chosen from a process begun by the liquidators of Spencer Dock Development Company (SDCC) in October of last year. The announcement was made yesterday by the liquidators of SDDC, the development company headed by Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett as well as property developer Harry Crosbie.

The valuation of the deal was not made public.

The acquisition includes the concession contract to operate and maintain the Convention Centre; a long-term lease of the accompanying underground carpark; and the licence to build and operate a 330-bed hotel on a site adjacent to the centre.

The transaction is expected to be completed over the coming months.

Convention Centre executive chairman Dermod Dwyer said: “I am very pleased that the sale process has made such significant progress at this stage. The day-to-day operation of the Convention Centre has continued successfully and without any disruption and this will continue until the conclusion of the process and beyond.

“The Convention Centre is a strategic national asset. In this regard, the long-term approach of IIF will be a good fit with the objectives of the ultimate owner of the Convention Centre, the OPW.”

The Convention Centre was developed as a public private partnership between Spencer Dock Development Company and the Office of Public Works (OPW). It is a state-owned building and is operated under a concession agreement from the OPW, which runs until 2035.

The centre’s latest set of accounts released in October of last year showed that favourable interest rates on outstanding debt helped the venue to a near 340% increase in profits last year.

The Spencer Dock Convention Centre Dublin (SDCCD) — the venue’s holding company and a subsidiary of SDDC — returned a profit of €15.37m in the 10 months to the end of last December, up from €3.52m the for the full year to the previous February.

Revenue for the 10-month period totalled €19.6m, compared to €24.15m for the previous year, but was virtually equal on a full-year basis.

In the last six months, the centre has secured 120 events, including 25 international conferences, booked for future years from 2015 to 2018. These 25 conferences range in size from 500 to 2,000 delegates and are forecast to generate more than €30m for the local economy.

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