One More Thing: EMI has Irish luck, but only just

David Guetta was sacrificed at the altar of the European Commission competition gods after the acquisition of EMI

David Guetta was sacrificed at the altar of the European Commission competition gods after the acquisition of EMI


Amid all the furore about illegal downloads and squeezed margins, veteran music label EMI seems to be managing to keep its Irish head at least slightly above water.

The latest numbers for EMI Records (Ireland) show an after-tax profit just shy of €10,000 for the nine months to the end of December last – not the worst result in an undeniably difficult market but one that owed much to interest payments from its parent.

On top of this, EMI has seen much change over the last year, with its acquisition by France’s Vivendi and Universal Music Group closing in February. This has seen successful artists such as David Guetta being sacrificed at the altar of the European Commission competition gods, although top names including Emeli Sandé and Katy Perry remain in the EMI stable.

Last year’s nine-month Irish profit of €9,814 compared to a profit of €202,011 in the previous 12 months. It came as turnover held up well at €7.2 million, as against €9.1 million for the year to the end of March.

Crucially, the company was loss-making at the operating level, by €269,671 in the nine months, but this was cancelled out by interest on loans to its parent. This led to a pretax profit of €167,949 and, ultimately, the after-tax result of €9,814.

Pension scheme
The company’s directors point to declining recorded music sales, recession, closing record shops and piracy among the headwinds facing operations but point to promised support from Vivendi should the need arise.

A notable inclusion in the nine-month figures was a €6 million actuarial loss on the firm’s pension scheme, which is due to wind up in the wake of the acquisition as no further payments are made into it.

“The proposed arrangements for the future are under discussion,” the directors note.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, no dividend was paid for the nine months, with €2 million having been allotted to EMI in the previous year.

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