Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Brunswick (No.1) Ltd.

Property firm hit by market woes

By John Simpson

Brunswick (No.1) is one of the largest property companies registered and trading from Northern Ireland. Brunswick (No.1) presents the consolidated accounts for a very large number of subsidiary companies and joint ventures within the same group.

The principal activities of the company are the leasing and development of properties for commercial purposes. In the last three years, the company has been seriously affected by the fall in property values.

From December 2007 to the end of December 2010, the dramatic changes are reflected in the fall in the value of shareholders' funds in the balance sheet. In 2007, this was assessed as £238m. Four years later it had fallen to £60m.

The reduction in the value of shareholders' funds is the result of a combination of a fall in the value of fixed assets and investments owned by the group, alongside bank borrowing totals of £615m at the end of 2007 which were only slightly smaller at £608m at the end of 2010.

The outstanding bank borrowing was reduced during 2011 by a settlement of £257m of the outstanding borrowing.

The value of fixed assets and investments reached £860m late in 2007. This balance sheet valuation fell to £644m at the end of 2010, a fall of £216m.

Most of this reduction stemmed from a write-down in assets accounted for partly through deductions in the profit and loss account but more heavily in a balance sheet adjustment for unrealised losses.

Annual income, largely in revenue from current returns on property, has remained annually above £40m.

However with net interest costs also above £40m, the pre-tax balance has been consistently negative, reaching £32m in 2010.

Many of the business units within this group are in Northern Ireland but some are registered or are trading in Britain and the Channel Islands.