Clare Champion makes €2m asset writedown

THE loss-making company that publishes the Clare Champion newspaper recorded a €2 million writedown on its premises last year.

The Clare Champion is one of the few independently-owned regional newspapers in the country and accounts just filed by Clare Champion Ltd show that its accumulated profits last year decreased by €198,404 from €2.16m to €1.97m in the 12 months to the end of December last.

The abridged accounts show that the company wrote down the book value of its Ennis premises from €3.2m to €1.2m at the end of December last.

A note attached to the accounts states that the revaluation takes into account recent market transactions for similar properties.

Auditors for Clare Champion Ltd, Carey and Associates confirm that the company recorded a loss last year. The company’s loss last year takes account of a depreciation charge of €31,144.

The loss for the year and the property writedown resulted in the company’s shareholder funds declining from €5.1m to €2.9m.

The company’s cash during the year decreased from €763,294 to €431,411.

Accounts for a connected company, Clare Champion Printers Ltd show that it recorded a modest profit, increasing its accumulated profits from €960,646 to €976,694. The company’s cash almost doubled during the year from €269,161 to €494,564.

Both companies are wholly owned by the Ennis-based Galvin family.

The latest independently audited circulation figures for the Clare Champion show its circulation dropped by 7% in 2010 from 17,969 to 16,669.

The paper is now in operation for 108 years. General manager, John Galvin was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Since 2005, The Clare Champion has faced direct competition from The Clare People newspaper.

The Clare People’s latest accounts are for the 12 months to the end of December 2008 and show accumulated losses of €4.5m. The paper’s latest ABC figures show its circulation decreased by 11.5% in 2010 going from 9,893 to 7,602.

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