Belfast Telegraph

Connswater firm 'positive' despite posting loss of £18m

Connswater shopping centre
Connswater shopping centre
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

The company behind Connswater Shopping Centre in east Belfast has said it's hopeful of its prospects this year despite a £17.9m loss in its latest accounts.

The loss at Killultagh Holdings in the year to the end of March contrasted with a £59m pre-tax profit a year earlier.

Turnover, meanwhile, fell slightly from £15.2m to £14m in 2018.

The company is led by developer Frank Boyd and his son Brendan, while Michael Lamont and Richard Steenson are also directors.

The company's profit in the year to the end of March 2018 was largely derived from £65.9m of loans being written off during the reporting period.

A spokesman for Killultagh Holdings said: "2018's results benefited from large loan write-offs and despite negative commercial property conditions in 2019, one in which we had some exceptional write-downs in the valuation of our portfolio, group trading performance was steady and our cash position solid.

"With greater certainty hopefully coming to the market post-Brexit this year, we remain positive about the prospects for 2020."

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Killultagh's portfolio includes 750,000 sq ft of space in Belfast city centre, as well as shopping centres and shops around the UK. Its website gives a net value of £200m for its portfolio.

It also owns around 1.5 million sq ft of shopping centre and retail space around the UK, with other NI retail assets including Hillview Retail Park at Crumlin Road in Belfast.

Killultagh also owns city centre office the Linenhall at Linenhall Street. It's also working on the site of the new Mercantile office block at the back of Belfast City Hall. It will feature two basement levels and eight floors of offices.

Economist John Simpson said the results for Killultagh Holdings were the outcome of financial adjustments to funding.

"The large loss in the year to March 2019 reflects how property values have affected profit estimates," he commented.

"The results in the previous year also, exceptionally, reflect financial gains resulting from a loan write off in that year of over £66m.

"This large property owning company is still a major player in the NI property market."

Belfast Telegraph