Sherry FitzGerald in black after sale of UK arm
THE IRISH operation of estate agent Sherry FitzGerald made a profit of €13.5 million in 2011 after the sale of a majority stake in its UK arm led to substantial inter-company loans being waived.
Accounts for Sherry FitzGerald (Ireland) Holdings Ltd, show that intercompany loans of €19.3 million were waived last year.
This followed the disposal of its 72 per cent stake in London-based agent Marsh Parsons to LSL Property Services for €44 million.
This deal enabled the Irish operation of Sherry FitzGerald to return to the black.
It has also left it debt free having closed 2010 with bank loans of €17.1 million.
At an operating level, Sherry FitzGerald’s Irish turnover declined by 4 per cent to €15.1 million, as the property market in Ireland remained challenging. Staff costs fell by 10 per cent to €10.9 million.
At Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) level, Sherry FitzGerald made a loss of €100,000 last year compared with a deficit of €1.3 million in 2010.
Interest costs, depreciation and amortisation charges, and fixed asset impairments left the agent with an operating loss of €2.1 million, roughly half the deficit recorded in 2010.
It also booked a charge of €3.7 million relating to an “onerous lease” on a former office on Leeson Street in Dublin.
Sherry FitzGerald closed the year with €2.1 million in cash, almost double the level of 2010.
On current trading, chief executive Mark FitzGerald expects “similar results” for this year.
“We would hope to be Ebitda positive,” Mr FitzGerald added.
He said the group is selling about 1,000 units a year here but has 8,000 registered buyers (cash or loan-approved) on its books.
The agency sold 40 homes in the first nine months of this year for €1 million or more.
Mr FitzGerald said “good sales volumes” had come through since March, particularly in Dublin.
There has been a “re-emergence of new homes” being built on the fringes of Dublin, including small schemes in Killester, Carrickmines and Stepaside, he said.