Golden Discs founder lends money to music chain

Jack Fitzgerald lends money to music chain co-owned and run by his son

Jack Fitzgerald, the 83-year- old who originally founded the Golden Discs group in the 1960s before selling up eight years ago, has stepped back in to the fray to support the music retailer with a loan secured on all of its assets.

Mr Fitzgerald, a former record label owner who started Ireland’s oldest music shop chain with a single outlet on Tara Street in Dublin, supplied the loan to Golden Disc Group six weeks ago, according to official company documents.

A handwritten note on the charge says it is secured on all of Golden Discs’ “undertakings, property and assets including property, present and future, of whatsoever nature and wheresoever situated”.

AIB also holds security, created last October, over all of the group's current and future assets. Golden Discs has 17 music stores around the State.

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Emerged from examinership

Mr Fitzgerald’s two sons each currently own a third of the business, which emerged from examinership in 2009. The rest is owned by a company controlled by

Tony Killoran

, Golden Discs’ former managing director.

One of the sons, Stephen Fitzgerald, is the group's current managing director. He confirmed his father has lent money to the group but said: "He is not getting involved with the business again."

“The [charge] is standard procedure for any loans. Our bank requires the same when we have overdraft facilities,” he said.

Golden Discs yesterday released a statement in which it said it returned to profit in the year to the end of June 2013, posting a gain of €209,000 after accounting for an unspecified “deferred tax provision”.

It said its “like-for-like” sales grew over the year by 7.5 per cent. Stephen Fitzgerald said this figure stripped out the effect on its accounts of the closure of two shops during the year.

Turnover decline

He later confirmed to

The Irish Times

that the company’s overall turnover had declined over the year.

Mr Fitzgerald said Golden Discs is profitable on an operating basis: “It is a modest profit, but a profit nonetheless.”

He said changes to its product mix “and the continuation of an aggressive cost cutting program” boosted its profit margins.

Golden Discs expanded heavily in the year of the end of June this year, and it said yesterday its sales had increased in that period by “over 40 per cent”. It opened six new shops in the year, although it closed others.

Jack Fitzgerald was a director of the Golden Discs group for nearly 40 years until he transferred his shares to his sons in 2006. The company, originally called Universal Records, traded as Tara Records, after the street where its first outlet was located.

In the early 1970s he set up a music label called Tara Records to release an album by then- unknown singer Christy Moore. This company, later renamed Tara Music, became a well-known Irish traditional music label. Mr Fitzgerald remained on its board until he stepped down in 2010, aged 79.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column