K Club accounts in the red but better times ahead

Operating loss falls to €2.4m from €3m and turnover rises to over €13.2m

The K Club:  it recently doubled the number of bedrooms to 140, it  hosted the Irish Open last year, which will have raised its profile, and tourist numbers are up. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The K Club: it recently doubled the number of bedrooms to 140, it hosted the Irish Open last year, which will have raised its profile, and tourist numbers are up. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Accounts recently filed for the company that owns the K Club in Kildare, the venue for the 2006 Ryder Cup, show it plunged deeper into the red in 2014.

Bishopscourt Investments, the Michael Smurfit-controlled group that owns and operates the five-star resort, narrowed its operating loss in the year to €2.4 million from €3 million. After interest repayments, the resort lost €3.2 million.

Turnover rose by more than 10 per cent to over €13.2 million, as the resort benefitted from the surge in visitors to Ireland in recent years.

Bishopscourt was sitting on accumulated losses of €33.6 million at the end of 2014, according to its balance sheet, and had a shareholders deficit of €1.2 million, compared to funds of €1.9 million the previous year.

The resort was valued at €62 million in the books, although it is likely to have been worth far more on the market, especially considering the strong rise in asset values associated with hotels in recent years.

Supported by €44.7m of loans

While the K Club was deep in the red at the end of 2014, the hotel has since made changes that are likely to see it return to profit growth. In 2015, it spent €20 million on a refurbishment that included, crucially, doubling the number of bedrooms to 140. The margins on accommodation are much higher than on food and drinks, and larger hotels tend to be more profitable on average.

The club also hosted the Irish Open last year, which will have boosted its profile, while the tourist market has accelerated growth since 2014. There has been a particular surge in visitors to Ireland from the United States since the end of the period covered by the latest accounts. The K Club is well known in the US because of its association with the Ryder Cup.

The resort, which was once owned by the Smurfit Kappa Group, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.