Limerick developer’s losses stand at €18m

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A PORTFOLIO of property, investment and racing companies operated by Limerick developer Robert Butler saw their losses climb to over €17.6m in 2010, new figures reveal.

A PORTFOLIO of property, investment and racing companies operated by Limerick developer Robert Butler saw their losses climb to over €17.6m in 2010, new figures reveal.

The accounts, just lodged with the Companies Registration Office for the Robert Butler Group, shows that the losses for seven of the companies amounts to €20,201,967. This however, is offset by small profits in another seven companies. By contrast, the loss of the holding group was just €616,000 in 2007.

In total, over €22.3m was owed to the banks in 2010, with the developer providing a guarantee for this liability, based on a certain amount not specified in the accounts.

The low-profile developer from Adare most recently sold a palatial house built for him in the grounds of Adare Manor. Valued at a staggering €12m four years ago; it was finally sold this year for well under the greatly reduced asking price of €1.9m.

The abridged financial accounts for his companies, filed recently for the end of August 2010, only give a minor indication to the effect that the downturn has had on his financial affairs.

The accounts state that the directors are reliant on the banks for continued support, but also cast “significant doubt” on the company’s ability to continue as a going concern, and states it could therefore be unable to “realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business.”

His half-built ‘Hanging Gardens’ development on Henry Street, the site of the former GPO, has been stagnant for several years, after he pumped €15m into the project. The last time Mr Butler spoke regarding that site he said another €12m would be required to complete it. The group had also planned to build a major development at Punch’s Cross by 2009, which had been in the pipeline since 2007, but it too became a victim of the property crash.

In previous sets of accounts, it was noted that NAMA had agreed to provide financial support to the company beginning on a short term basis in 2011, but there is no further detail on NAMA’s involvement in his companies.