Losses widen at Titanic Quarter but refinancing deal brings confidence

Company behind rejuvenated quarter reports a £1.3m loss for last year

The area is currently home to 100 firms and more than 18,000 people live and work there. The quarter also houses film studios, a science park and Titanic Belfast

The area is currently home to 100 firms and more than 18,000 people live and work there. The quarter also houses film studios, a science park and Titanic Belfast

 

The company behind Titanic Quarter in Belfast saw losses widen last year due to “challenging” market conditions but said it was optimistic about the future after concluding a refinancing deal with a company owned by businessman Dermot Desmond.

Titanic Island Limited. which controls the group of companies working in the rejuvenated quarter, reported a £1.3 million (€1.45 million) loss for the 12 months ending December 2016 versus £428,603 a year earlier, recently filed accounts show.

The group achieved an operating profit of £1.3 million versus £2.5 million a year earlier after an aggregate revaluation loss of £1.5 million was taken into account.

Group revenue from property sales and rental income was in line with expectations at £10.5 million.

Retained losses at the end of the year totalled £47.5 million, down from £64.7 million in the prior year.

In February, the company agreed a deal to borrow £44.7 million from Danske Bank, as well as £28.7 million from Bottin, which is ultimately controlled by Mr Desmond. The new loan facilities replace loans that were sold by Ulster Bank to Burlington Loan Management.

“The refinancing provides the group with a solid financial platform on which to continue the regeneration of Titanic Quarter through further development and land sales,” the company said.

Titanic Island Limited added that while market conditions in the property development sector remain challenging, there is demand for specially configured Grade A offices.

A number of new projects are due to come on stream at the Titanic Quarter this year. These include the multi-million pound development Olympic House and the 120-bedroom Titanic Hotel Belfast.

The Titanic Quarter is one of the world’s largest urban-waterfront regeneration projects. The 185-acre site, on which the RMS Titanic was designed and built, has attracted £425 million in investment since it officially launched in 2005.

The area is currently home to 100 firms and more than 18,000 people live and work there. The quarter also houses film studios, a science park and Titanic Belfast, which was last year named Europe’s top tourist attraction, ahead of the Eiffel Tower, the Acropolis, la Sagrada Familia and Buckingham Palace.

The £97 million visitor attraction opened in 2012 and has welcomed more than three million people since then.

Last year Titanic Quarter reached a settlement with Belfast Harbour following a prolonged legal dispute over the development of land.