Coppers company pays owners €68.64m in dividends over two years

Nightclub owner Cathal Jackson says he will be taking back seat in business in the future

The company behind Cathal Jackson’s Copper Face Jacks nightclub in Dublin paid a dividend of €21.69 million to its owners last year, according to new accounts.

The dividend payout by Breanagh Catering Ltd brings to €68.64 million the amount paid to owners Cathal and Paula Jackson in the two years to January 31st, 2020. The dividend payments have been paid to a connected holding company, Breanagh Catering Holdings Unlimited, which is jointly owned by the Jacksons.

The company’s lucrative nightclub business has been shut down for the past year due to the pandemic.

In an interview on Friday, Mr Jackson said that the last year “has been tough for everyone”.



Asked when he thought Coppers, as the club is known, would reopen, Mr Jackson said: "The Covid-19 situation is evolving all the time. It could be September-October. It could be next year. I just don't know. We are in the dark like everyone else. No one knows for certain."

Mr Jackson confirmed that he will be taking a back seat in the business when it does eventually reopen.

Commenting on a health scare he had in 2019 Mr Jackson said: “I am flying again thanks be to God but I think my years on the door are over. I am semi-retired now.”

“I have stood for the last 24 to 25 years on the front door myself – I believed being on the door of the business meeting customers as they came in.”

Mr Jackson – who turns 66 later this year – said he is “thrilled” his son Darren has expressed an interest in entering the business.

“I am very lucky that Darren has decided to come in and that the business will continue for a few more years.”

On the appeal of Coppers, Mr Jackson said: “It just seems to be a place for anyone to meet from all corners of Ireland.”

“Country people love coming up to a place that they associate with a country disco and there is a Dublin following as well. The GAA along with soccer, rugby and all other sports has really helped with the longevity of Coppers, ” the former garda said.

The accounts show that pre-Covid, pretax profits at Breanagh had declined by 35.5 per cent from €3.82 million to €2.46 million.

The drop in profit coincided with revenues declining by 12 per cent from €13.23 million to €11.62 million in the 12 months to the end of January 31st, 2020.

The move to pay out the dividends of €46.9 million in 2019 and €21.69 million last year has depleted the company’s cash reserves from €63.7 million in January 2018 to €919,070 at the end of January 2020.


During the same period, Breanagh’s accumulated profits have reduced from €75.46 million to €12.18 million due to the payout.

Mr Jackson set up Copper Face Jacks in February 1996. He put the business up for sale in March 2019 with industry sources at the time believing it might realise €40 million. Staff were subsequently told in a company memo in November 2019 that the business was no longer for sale as Mr Jackson “has decided to stay actively involved in the business”.

The memo stated that the decision to put the nightclub up for sale was made “reluctantly”.

Numbers employed by Breanagh at the end of January 2020 totalled 173, while staff costs amounted to €3.99 million.

A breakdown of revenues shows that €10 million was generated in nightclub and bar sales with €1.5 million in accommodation sales.

Directors’ pay declined last year from €554,764 to €485,142. The accounts put a book value of €12 million on the company’s tangible assets.

The pretax profit at Breanagh Catering Ltd last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €710,687.

The firm enjoyed post-tax profits of €2.12 million after paying out corporation tax of €338,102.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times