Riverdance company’s profits fall by €500,000

THE holding company for Riverdance saw profits fall by more than €500,000 last year.

Abhann Productions – the theatrical production company established by Riverdance co-founders Moya Doherty and John McColgan – generated a pre-tax profit of €249,315 in 2009, according to accounts just filed with the Companies Office.

That profit figure was down from €783,983 the previous year. The profit made in 2008 was itself a significant turnaround for the company, which had made a pre-tax loss of €1 million in 2007.

In the directors’ report, where along with Ms Doherty and Mr McColgan, Joan Egan is listed as a company director, Abhann’s management said that the retained, after -tax profit of €232,059 for 2009 would be transferred to the company’s reserves.

They suggested that “significant changes in the marketplace, in which the business operates” and “fluctuations in currency exchange rates” may have adversely affected its financial results. Their commentary added that “the group has developed an established place for itself within its market and will continue developments in this area”.

The accounts also showed a slight drop in the company’s turnover – down from €24.75m in 2008 to €21.25m as of the end of last year – and a €520,000 year-on-year drop in operating profit to €253,543.

Riverdance famously began life in 1994 as a seven-minute interval act for that year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin – launching the international careers of dancers Jean Butler and Michael Flatley in the process – and has since been voted the most popular interval segment in the history of the competition.

While the profile of the production has waned in recent years, with Butler and Flatley having long since left, Riverdance still tours internationally 16 years after its inception, with three separate dance companies covering the world at any one time.

The latest Abhann accounts show that the combined amount paid to its directors last year as part of the aggregate remuneration package including pension and bonus payments, as well as basic salaries, amounted to just under €1.8m; down from a figure of just over €2.4m in 2008. The amount paid into directors’ pensions dropped from €125,036 to €31,139 and the company paid its auditors €41,500 – €7,000 less than in the preceding year.

The company’s loss on foreign currency exchange fluctuations amounted to €137,299 compared with €440,481 in the previous year. Abhann’s staff numbers also fell from 11 to 10 during the year.


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