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Belfast's Titanic Island narrows its losses to £0.3m but warns of Brexit worries

By John Mulgrew

Published 27/09/2016

An aerial view of the Titanic Quarter where Titanic Island Ltd has been behind the development of a range of facilities, including Titanic Belfast
An aerial view of the Titanic Quarter where Titanic Island Ltd has been behind the development of a range of facilities, including Titanic Belfast

The company behind the Titanic Quarter in Belfast has warned that "uncertainty" around Brexit is likely to impact on its business, after it posted losses of more than £300,000.

Titanic Island Ltd - which has carried out development on the site, including the tourist exhibition centre, Titanic Belfast, as well as apartments and offices - also claims that an agreement reached with its landlord, Belfast Harbour, will push on further developments, including the proposed Olympic House office project.

The company posted losses of £333,000 for the year ending December 2015.

That was down from £1.16m a year earlier.

But Titanic Island Ltd's retained losses grew to £38.2m, up from £37.8m in the previous set of accounts.

It says more than £350m has so far been invested in development of the area.

In the strategic report in its latest accounts, it states: "The directors are hopeful that the general level of activity will improve, albeit market conditions in Northern Ireland lag behind the rest of the UK and Ireland."

Aside from its existing major projects - which include Titanic Belfast, The Gateway Offices the Titanic Paint Hall Studios - it also mentions a number of potential new ventures.

Those include the development of a financial services centre at the proposed Olympic House office development, a Titanic 'media campus' and two hotels.

Referring to the UK vote to leave the EU, it warns that it could have an impact on business in the "short to medium term".

"In the opinion of the directors, the decision taken by the UK to leave the European Union, following the referendum on June 23, is likely to lead to a period of uncertainty in financial markets, and in the economic climate generally, and may adversely affect the group's trading prospects in the short to medium term."

Speaking about the value of its property, the company's report says the land bank was worth £20.4m in 2013.

It also says that "given the uncertainty in the local property market, the ongoing lack of availability in bank finance for property development, the ability to transact with Belfast Harbour under the TQMA (Titanic Quarter Master Agreement) and Belfast Harbour's competing interest in City Quays, it is difficult for the directors to verify the appropriateness of the carrying values of development land in the financial statements".

In May, a legal battle between Belfast Harbour and Titanic Quarter was settled amid claims the agreement "marks an opportunity to re-invigorate" the area.

The city's Harbour Commissioners and developer Titanic Quarter Ltd were locked in a dispute over a master agreement for the 185-acre site's multi-million pound regeneration.

In the accounts, Titanic Island says it is "proactively looking to develop a number of projects in conjunction with Belfast Harbour".

Belfast Telegraph

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