Ardmore Studios expected to fetch at least €10m in sale

Ardmore Studios, Ireland’s largest and most famous film production facility, has been put on the market with early estimates suggesting the sale could fetch at least €10m for its owners.

Ardmore Studios expected to fetch at least €10m in sale

The 18-acre facility in Bray, Co Wicklow, has been owned by former U2 manager Paul McGuinness and well-known accountant Ossie Kilkenny, for nearly 30 years, with Enterprise Ireland controlling a one-third stake.

The three shareholders said in a statement that they believe “the time is right for a sale”.

IBI Corporate Finance is handling the sale and although an asking price has not been disclosed, a sale price of at least €10m has been estimated by sources.

Ardmore — currently hosting filming of the new Mel Gibson and Sean Penn movie, The Professor and the Madman, and TV series Into the Badlands— is being sold as a going concern and the sale will have no impact on its day-to-day operations.

The current owners cite the favourable Section 481 tax incentive scheme as being “a key attractor” for international productions and said that demand for fully-serviced studio space in Ireland remains “buoyant”.

They added that there is “a healthy number of potential productions” in the pipeline for the coming months and year ahead at the nearly 60-year-old studio complex.

Ardmore has generated respective pre-tax profits of €1.6m and €1.5m in the last two years and has seen more than €2m of fresh investment pumped into it in the past three years, which has resulted in a significant upgrading of on-site facilities.

An additional 47,000 sq ft of studio space, to cater for market demand, was built on Bray’s Southern Cross Rd earlier this year.

Ardmore Studios has operated at an average annual capacity of 85%-90% since 2013.

Over the years it has housed a number of high-profile productions including My Left Foot, Excalibur, and Braveheart, while more recently the likes of Penny Dreadful, Moone Boy, and The Tudors.

In all, productions made at the Bray studios have received 14 Oscars and a number of Bafta, Golden Globe, and Emmy awards.

In terms of its owners, yesterday’s statement said both Mr McGuinness and Mr Kilkenny will continue to explore a number of other individual business interests.

“Mr McGuinness is currently producing a TV series for Sky television, whilst Mr Kilkenny has a variety of film related enterprises,” the announcement said.

“Ardmore Studios has benefited from a significant investment programme in recent years to enhance its facilities and has recorded year-on-year growth in profitability.”

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