Ballymore UK arm books £75m profit as house sales rise sharply

Turnover at UK operation soars to £555.2 million from £99.3 million a year earlier

Ballymore founder and chief executive Seán Mulryan (centre). Photograph: Alan Betson

Ballymore founder and chief executive Seán Mulryan (centre). Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The holding company for the UK operation of Irish property developer Ballymore made an after-tax profit of £75 million (€88 million) last year while turnover rose sharply due to a “significant increase” in sales of residential units.

Accounts just filed for Ballymore Properties Holdings Limited and Subsidiaries show its turnover rose to £555.2 million (€651.3 million) in the year to the end of March 2016, up from £99.3 million a year earlier.

The after-tax profit was just under half the figure earned in the previous financial year. However, the profit in 2015 included a once-off gain of £50 million on a restructuring of a joint investment. In addition, the accounts for last year were impacted by a much higher interest charge of £32.6 million compared with just under £2 million in the previous period.

Ballymore’s operating profit rose by 6 per cent last year to £96.5 million. The UK entity closed the year with a deficit in shareholders funds of £514.3 million.

Nama support

The accounts note that Ballymore’s UK entity had total debt of £729.7 million and was dependent on the continued financial support of Nama, having had its loans with the domestic Irish banks transferred to the State agency in 2010. The carrying value of its property portfolio was £568 million.

The accounts state that Ballymore’s UK business repaid £675 million to Nama during the year adding that it was “well placed” to exit Nama within 12 months of the approval of the accounts last September.

This situation has changed dramatically since then with The Irish Times revealing last week that Ballymore’s founder, Seán Mulryan, had written to staff just before Christmas to inform them that the company had exited Nama, having repaid €3.2 billion in gross debt to the agency.

Among the highlights from last year listed in a strategy report attached to the UK accounts were progress on the builds of phase one of Embassy Gardens, Providence Tower and the first phase of London City Island.

“The vast majority of residential and commercial unit sales in these three developments are forecast to complete in the 2016/2017 financial year,” it stated.

Ballymore also sold a property portfolio to the Eco World-Ballymore (EWB) group for £161.4 million. EWB is a joint venture between Ballymore, which retains a 25 per cent interest, and the Malaysian property company Eco World Development Group Berhad.

EWB is now developing the Wardian site in Canary Wharf, the next phase of Embassy Gardens beside the new US embassy in Battersea, and another site in the London docklands.

Sanguine on Brexit impact

The report said the London market continued to “perform well” and was sanguine on the impact of Brexit. “While some uncertainty is expected in markets following the result of the UK’s referendum on its membership of the EU, the directors still believe that the economic fundamentals are positive for London,” it said.

Directors’ remuneration fell to £245,000 from £414,000 in the previous year. The highest-paid director was paid £139,000, the same amount as in 2015.

Staff numbers reduced to 62 from 172, following the sale of Ballymore Asset Management Ltd. This had the effect of reducing its aggregate payroll costs to £3.9 million from £12.6 million in 2015.

Some £18.6 million was due from related parties at the year end, including just under €3 million from Irish property company Markland Holdings.

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