Belfast Telegraph

Titanic Island Ltd

By John Simpson

Titanic Island is the Northern Ireland subsidiary of Jersey-registered Titanic Investments. Titanic Island is the main property development firm on the 161 acres of land with a long lease from the Harbour Commissioners, at the Queen's Island site that was formerly used by Harland and Wolff.

Titanic Island is the parent company which owns a number of other subsidiaries connected with the development of the major Queen's Island projects, including Titanic Quarter, Ivy Wood Properties, and Ivy Wood College (the PPP building now occupied by Belfast Metropolitan College).

The value of land and property held for development was £33m at the end of 2006 and rose to £112m in 2009. Since then, the balance sheet value has fallen to £73m at the end of 2012, partly as some of the development assets were sold.

A feature of the balance sheet is the provision of working capital shareholder loans of just over £42m, from the business groups of the main shareholders, including Harcourt Developments, alongside finance from the Ulster Bank.

The phase one scheme of residential apartments was finished in late 2010 and most of the apartments have since been sold. Similarly, the Gateway Hotel and the Public Records Office have now been finished and opened. The Belfast Metropolitan College finished in August 2011 and began to operate for that academic year.

The Financial Services Centre (phase one) has been completed and occupied. Phase two has received planning approval and, at a cost of about £100m, will provide a further 665,000 sq ft of development space. The ambition is that the financial services facilities will have a potential to employ some 10,000 people.

Titanic Studios (in the former Paint Hall) are operating commercially, as is the T13 Urban Sports Park.

In preparation, there is phase three of the financial services centre, Titanic Exchange, which has the potential to provide data storage services for a range of businesses, including banks, software providers and internet businesses, as well as facilities for extensive retail outlets.

Because of the serious recession affecting property prices, Titanic Island moved from returning substantial profits on its development activities to an operating loss of over £2m in 2012. After allowance for interest charges and a write down of £4m in the value of investment property, the pre-tax loss was just under £8m.

During 2010, the group subscribed £2.5m towards the Titanic Signature Project. A further and final £13m was subscribed in 2011. The Titanic Project contract was awarded to Harcourt Construction, a trading entity with related interests. The Titanic Project is now trading as an independent foundation.

Belfast Telegraph