‘Substantial earnings’ for woollen mills group

The Blarney Woollen Mills Group is “trading successfully” and recorded “substantial” earnings last year.

That is according to group director Robert Reardon who was commenting on returns by loss-making subsidiaries, Bunratty Shopping Village Ltd and Meadows and Byrne Malahide Road Ltd.

Mr Reardon attributed the losses at the firms to asset writedowns. Figures for Bunratty Shopping Village show it recorded a €2.8m loss in the 12 months to the end of Jan 31 after a €3m property writedown.

He said the group recorded “substantial” earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and amortisation (EBIDTA) last year. When asset writedowns are factored in, the group recorded a loss in 2011.

The group has unlimited status and is not required to file annual accounts. Mr Reardon declined to reveal the group’s EBIDTA for last year. He said: “We are trading successfully and doing reasonably well.”

The group will increase revenues this year and opened three new stores at Castlebar, Clarinbrige, and Wilton, while it plans further expansion in 2013. Mr Reardon said that at peak season, the group employs 500 people.

A note attached to the accounts for Bunratty Shopping Village states that the directors have identified suitable core and non-core assets that may be disposed of in order to reduce the group’s bank debt.

However, Mr Reardon said last night that only non-core assets will be considered for disposal. “There will be no core assets sold in the current environment,” he said.

Mr Reardon said that the group “deals with a number of banks and we have the full support of those banks and continue to enjoy that support”.

Blarney Woollen Mills is owned by members of the Kelleher business family, including Freda Hayes. It merged with Meadows and Byrne, which was founded by Ms Hayes in the mid-1990s.

Accounts for Bunratty Shopping concern the operation of the Bunratty Hotel and show the firm recorded pre-tax losses of €2.8m following losses of €128,055 in 2010.

The firm recorded the loss in spite of revenues increasing from €4m to €4.22m.


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