Xtra-vision near to clearing €7m debt


DVD RENTAL and electronics retail chain Xtra-vision is close to clearing the €7 million debt that it used to buy the business from Blockbuster last year.

Birchall Investments, backed by NCB’s Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Capital Fund, businessman Peter O’Grady Walshe and members of the Furlong family, bought the chain in August 2009 for €20 million. Of that, €7 million came in the form a bank loan. Mr O’Grady Walshe said yesterday that the company would make its last repayment shortly. The terms of the deal in August 2009 included provision for an earn-out clause, which would have seen Birchhall pay more for Xtra-vision had its profits reached an agreed target.

However, this was not exercised as the chain’s profits did not reach the target. He also revealed that the chain could look at taking over the leases on “two or three” of the outlets used by rival Chartbusters, placed in liquidation recently.

However, Mr O’Grady Walshe ruled out taking over any more of its premises. This would be largely pointless, he said, as many were close to Xtra-vision’s own locations.

Xtra-vision’s revenues come from DVD rentals, the sale of consumer electronics, mobile phones and other related goods. Its management expects the business to make a profit this year, although it has been dealing with a particularly depressed retail market over the last two months.