Belfast Telegraph

Development firm behind Titanic Quarter triples turnover to £35m but profits down

By Margaret Canning

The development company behind Belfast's Titanic Quarter has reported a tripling in turnover from £10.4m to £35.4m.

During the year the Titanic Quarter has seen developments including the opening of the new Titanic Hotel at the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices.

It's already home to a financial services centre, including the offices of investment bank, Citi, Belfast Met, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, film studios, two car showrooms, tech business park, Catalyst Inc, and a Premier Inn.

Now Titanic Property Development Ltd has reported rapid growth in turnover, though pre-tax profits were down from £10.5m to £6.2m.

A note accompanying the company's results says that the increase in turnover followed the sale of assets as part of a restructuring of the group.

Early last year the Titanic Quarter group of companies refinanced £75m worth of loans with Danske Bank. The deal, with companies behind the development, involves the refinancing of its investment assets and the release of the development lands into the control of the shareholders.

Bottin (International Investments) BV, an entity ultimately controlled by Dermot Desmond, provided subordinated debt of £28.7m.

Mr Desmond is a 50% ultimate beneficial owner of Titanic Quarter.

The strategic report states that the refinancing "provides the financial foundation upon which the group can plan and implement further development activity at Titanic Quarter with renewed confidence and vigour".

The accounts state that directors regard Mr Desmond and Pat Doherty, of Harcourt Developments, as controlling the company. The strategic report adds that the area is now home to 100 firms, with around 18,000 people living and working there.

A total of three million square feet of space is planned for the 161.5 acres, with 1.5 m square feet delivered to date and £425m invested.

A restructuring carried out last year involved dividing the existing single group of companies into three separate groups "to maximise commercial efficiency and optimise longer-term planning".

Titanic Quarter Ltd, one of eight subsidiaries, reported a fall in pre-tax profits from £10m to £6m. It increased the valuation of development land slightly, from £20.5m to £20.527m.

Notes to its financial statements for last year say that its principal activity is the development of 161.5 acres of land within the Titanic Quarter Master Agreement, which was reached with the Belfast Harbour Commissioners.

The firm added: "It remains the primary objective of the company that the development land continues to be developed over the medium to long-term (through to 2030)."

Titanic Quarter Ltd records that it refinanced with a loan of £7.6m with Bottin (International Investments) BV.

The notes explain that ahead of the refinancing, Titanic Quarter Ltd's entire issued share capital was acquired by Titanic Property Development Ltd as part of the restructuring. The report adds that Titanic Quarter Ltd is dependent on the support of shareholders and related parties, and that its ultimate controlling parties of Entice Holdings Ltd, registered in Surrey, and Dockside Investments Ltd, registered in Preston - have confirmed that they will not seek repayment of existing loans of £18.5m "for the foreseeable future".

It adds that Harcourt Construction (NI) Ltd, whose directors include Mr Doherty, will not seek repayments of amounts it's owed for the foreseeable future.

Belfast Telegraph

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