Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Donegall Place Investments Ltd

By John Simpson

Donegall Place Investments is one of Northern Ireland’s largest family controlled property businesses, which has interests in property development and trading, along with holding property investments to earn rental returns.

The registered accounts include the consolidated results for its wholly-owned subsidiary, Bow Street Mall in Lisburn. Over 90% of the main turnover comes as rental receipts on leased property.

In addition, Donegall Place Investments is a 50% partner in two other property companies, Merset Properties and Dermont Developments. These joint ventures are in partnership with two other large locally-owned property groups. In the last three years, the joint ventures have registered a small net loss in the consolidated accounts.

The balance sheet value of the properties owned by Donegall Place Investments grew steadily in the earlier years of this decade, and peaked at £408.5m in September 2007. Since then the stated value has remained stable, as smaller levels of capital spending have been offset by modest amounts of write down on the unrealised losses on a revaluation of assets.

During the years 2005 to 2007, the company expanded its property portfolio considerably and, to finance this expansion, increased its bank borrowing from £232m in |September 2005 to £285m in September 2007.

In the two most recent years, borrowed finance increased further to £298m.

Interest charges cost the company nearly £20m in 2009, which includes the interest costs on the joint ventures.

The company has continued to make dividend allocations to the shareholders. However, an allocation of £1.9m in 2009 was lower than the higher allocations in 2006 and 2007.

The balance sheet value of shareholders’ funds peaked in September 2007 at £164m. Since then it has fallen to £152m in September 2009. The fall of £12m can be attributed in part to post-tax losses of nearly £5m in the two years, and unrealised losses on property revaluations, along with increased bank borrowing.

Belfast Telegraph

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