Fourfold rise in profits at Ardmore studio to €1.35m

Facility operated at close to capacity last year

‘Penny Dreadful’, which is filmed in Ardmore: the pennies have been mounting up at the film studio after a strong financial performance

‘Penny Dreadful’, which is filmed in Ardmore: the pennies have been mounting up at the film studio after a strong financial performance

 

Ardmore Film Studios has reported a fourfold increase in profit as it continues to recover from a slump that had threatened its future.

Chief executive Siún Ní Raghallaigh says the company expects to deliver a similar performance in 2015, finally overcoming accumulated losses that almost closed Ireland’s largest studio in 2012.

The film studio, in which U2 manager Paul McGuinness and accountant Ossie Kilkenny are majority shareholders, said it operated at close to capacity last year as it reported a profit of €1.35 million for 2014, according to accounts just filed with Companies Office.

That was up from profits of €340,000 in 2013 and losses of €852,000 in 2012. The studio has invested €1.4 million in the past two years upgrading facilities at its Bray, Co Wicklow, base which opened in 1958.

Since the year-end, it has acquired more premises nearby with 2,787sq m (30,000sq ft) of studio space and 1022sq m (11,000sq ft) of offices to house Ardmore Film Factory.

“It was a very good year,”said Ms Ní Raghallaigh. “There were periods when we were at 100 per cent capacity and, overall, the figure was around 85 per cent of capacity.

“The impact of the new tax credit this year shows through in the number of enquiries we have had. We cannot help many of them because we are full,” she said. “Our investment programme and the addition of Ardmore Film Factory will ensure that Ardmore continues to attract world-class television and film productions.”

A new series of Penny Dreadful is the single largest project at the studio, where high-end television series such as The Tudors have been filmed, as have Moone Boy, Braveheart, My Left Foot and Excalibur.

Ms Ní Raghallaigh said there was demand for a lot more capacity in Ireland. “We need to scale up to bring it to another level,” she said, noting that international film projects were very mobile and would go where tax incentives, creative talent and locations dictated.

Ardmore has been in talks with Limerick City and County Council on a project to develop a major film and television production studio at the former Dell building in Castletroy which the council acquired in May for €6 million.