Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Foyleside Ltd.

Foyleside bucks recession trend

By John Simpson

Foyleside Ltd is probably one of the five largest private property companies owned by Northern Ireland shareholders. Foyleside has a wide property portfolio across the UK, some of which is held in subsidiary companies registered in Gibraltar. Locally the company owns the shopping centre of the same name as well as Forestside in Belfast.

The trading results for the year to July 2010 reflect a continuing stable revenue stream which has resulted in a continuing healthy operating profit. Whilst many other commercial property companies have faced a fall in current revenues where property rentals have decreased, the Foyleside experience points to only a small impact from the recession.

Two features are most noteworthy in a property company - the proportion of operating profit absorbed by payments for borrowed funds and the updating of the balance sheet valuation of the fixed assets.

For Foyleside, in the most recent year, net interest payments on borrowed funds cost £31.2m, slightly lower than £31.3m in 2009. The company has total bank loans of £549m, down by just over £6m from the amount at the end of July 2009. Pre-tax profits at £5.2m, although fractionally lower than last year, remained the second highest of recent years.

The ratio of borrowing, relative to the value of shareholders' funds, was 374% in 2006, 485% in 2009 and 473% in July 2010. The group's operating costs presumably include administrative charges incurred elsewhere in the group.

The main beneficial owners of the company maintain a low public profile and are thought to have other significant property and business interests.

Belfast Telegraph