O'Flaherty Group posts loss of €28m
The O’Flaherty Group has reported a loss of almost €28.7 million in 2011 after incurring an impairment on the value of its properties of €23.4 million.
The group, owned by members of the O’Flaherty family, operates the Irish distribution business for premium car firm Mercedes and several car retail dealerships. It is also involved in leasing, property, metal fabrication and the manufacture of aerial lifts.
The group’s financial accounts for last year show that while turnover rose by nearly €8 million to €287 million, its cost of sales and operating expenses increased, creating a loss of €3.9 million before hefty impairment charges on its assets and other exceptional costs.
The latter costs include a writedown of almost €1.28 million relating to its 50 per cent join venture in Hispano Cars, which distributed Seat vehicles in Ireland up until November 1st, 2010. After then Seat’s Irish operations were transferred to the brand’s owner, Volkswagen. The net book value of the O’Flaherty Group’s investment properties fell from €15 million to €14.5 million. Staff numbers at the group increased slightly to 984. The group paid a dividend last year of €8 million in line with the previous year.
In separate filings, its wholly owned subsidiary Motor Distributors Ltd, which imports and distributes Mercedes in Ireland, reported a 52 per cent fall in profits to €1.6 million in 2011. Its turnover fell from €102 million to €88.6 million.
The O’Flaherty business was founded by the late Stephen O’Flaherty, who secured a licence to import the Volkswagen Beetle into Ireland in 1950. He acquired the old tramway depot on Shelbourne Road, Dublin 4, for the cars’ assembly, where Ballsbridge Motors, part of the O’Flaherty group, now operates.
The group broke the €1 billion turnover barrier in 2006, but the sale of its distribution rights to the Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda brands to VW Group Ireland in 2008 reduced its scale of operation.