€3.77m property sale windfall for Whittakers

The Cork-based Whittaker family last year had a €3.77m windfall after selling a property firm to its motor group Johnson & Perrott.

€3.77m property sale windfall for Whittakers

The confirmation of the sale of property firm, Ballincurrig Properties Ltd by the Whittaker family is contained in new accounts disclosing that pre-tax profits last year at Johnson & Perrott Ltd rose 36% to €3.64m. Revenues soared 37.5% from €45.8m to €63m.

Yesterday, the group’s chief executive, Mark Whittaker confirmed that the group’s business continues to increase this year with revenues rising over 20%. The group operates the renting and development of a property portfolio through its Ballincurrig Properties Ltd offshoot which it acquired in January 2014. Mr Whittaker said that the property firm “made a substantial contribution to the profits of the group last year”.

He said the 37% increase in revenues “was driven by a substantial increase in activity recorded at the group’s two motor dealerships arising from the increase in the car market in 2014 together with substantial internal changes in the businesses”.

He added: “The group’s fleet management division, based in South City Business Park in Tallaght, recorded excellent results for the year assisted by continued growth in its fleet, together with strong demand for end-of-lease vehicles.”

Mr Whittaker said that “significant investment continued in the group’s van rental division with the development of a new brand — drivevanrental.ie and the investment in improved online booking capabilities”.

“This business is now growing very strongly. In relation to its property holdings, the group is greatly encouraged by the recent upward trend in retail sales and the continued excellent trading performance of Opera Lane in Cork City centre in which it now owns units.”

During the year, the firm paid dividends of €410,000. At the end of last December, the group was sitting on accumulated profits of €57.34m. The firm’s cashpile fell from €13.84m to €10.88m.

Numbers employed by the group last year declined marginally from 103 to 98 with staff costs rising 8.5% from €4.18m to €4.53m. Five sit on the board and directors’ emoluments including pension costs rose 64% from €293,935 to €482,520.

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