Owner of Clerys building made near €5m profit in 18 months

Liquidated OCS Operations Ltd which ran store made loss of just over €2m in same period


The company that owns the Clerys building on O’Connell Street made a profit of just under €5 million between August 2012 and February 1st, 2014 but the entity that operated the department store made a loss of just more than €2 million during the same period.

These contrasting figures emerge from filings for the various entities in the Companies Office here.

Accounts for OCS Properties Ltd, which owns the Clerys building, also indicate that a value of €20.7 million was assigned to the site by its then owners, Boston-based Gordon Brothers, at the beginning of February 2014.

These accounts are abridged and so only provide certain balance sheet details. No information on its revenue stream is given, but it is likely the only source of income was rent due from the department store.

This would indicate the property company was charging more than €300,000 a month to OCS Operations Ltd, the business that ran the department store and which was placed into liquidation late last week amid much controversy.

Accounts for OCS Investment Holdings Ltd, the parent company for the property and operating businesses, show its liabilities exceeded its assets by €2.4 million in February 2014.

This company owed its bankers €15.6 million and had “financing facilities” of €6.9 million with GB Europe Management Services Ltd, a Gordon Brothers company. These loans were to have fallen due in September 2016.

Gordon Brothers sold these Clerys businesses in the early hours of the morning of June 12th to Natrium Ltd, a joint venture between Deirdre Foley’s development company D2 Private and Cheyne Capital Management in the UK.

Insolvency specialists

The operating business - OCS Operations Ltd - was then sold by Natrium to insolvency specialists in the UK who successfully petitioned the High Court to have KPMG appointed as joint liquidators to this entity, with the effect that the department store closed immediately.

Up to 460 staff have been made redundant as a result of this move.

Ironically, given the events of the past week, the directors of OCS Operations thanked the management and staff in a note to their latest accounts for their “hard work, loyalty and commitment” following storm damage in mid-2013, which required the store to close for an extensive refurbishment.

The directors said the company was committed to dealing with its customers, staff, concession partners and suppliers on a “legal, ethical, fair and sustainable basis”.

Statutory redundancy

Staff at Clerys, some of whom have been with the business for more than 40 years, were told this week by the liquidators that they would receive only statutory redundancy payments, while concession holders are owed more than €2 million in merchandising revenue from the beginning of May.

Natrium retained ownership of OCS Properties and the holding company.

Natrium finally broke its silence on Friday morning, June 19th, saying it would “significantly invest” in the rejuvenation of the Clerys building and adjacent properties in a predominantly retail-led development.

It did not comment on the events surrounding the liquidation of the operating business and the closure of the store.