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Trump organisation's Doonbeg investment pays off for its 100% shareholder, Donald Trump

The US President resigned as a board member of the resort company but will benefit from revenues which soared by 30% to €6.5m in 2016.

Trump International Golf Links and Hotel
Trump International Golf Links and Hotel
Image: Shutterstock/UTBP

THE MILLIONS BEING invested by the Trump organisation into the US President Donald Trump-owned Doonbeg golf resort in west Clare are beginning to pay off as revenues at the resort in 2016 soared by 30% to €6.5m.

Trump’s son Eric has a hands-on role in overseeing the investment in Doonbeg. He said: “It is incredibly gratifying to see our vision for Trump Doonbeg come to life. I continue to be impressed by the beautiful product and the business improvement at the property.

“Each and every time I visited this year, which was quite a few times, I appreciated not only the beauty of the resort but also the community, the region and the friendliness of the Irish people. I look forward to returning in the coming year and helping our world-class team make Doonbeg one of the finest resorts in the world.”

General manager of the Trump Doonbeg enterprise, Joe Russell, said today that the resort “continues to grow from strength to strength and 2016 proved to be the best year’s trading since the full resort facilities opened in 2006”.

He was commenting on new accounts filed by the Trump-owned TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd to the Companies Office which show that revenues in 2016 increased by 30% from €4.8m to €6.5m as operating losses almost halved to €807,090.

Russell said that the golf operation enjoyed ‘“record green fee business and a steady flow of new members joining the club” while there was also renewed interest in the resort’s property operation.

The accounts show that €8m was ploughed into the resort firm in 2016 and 2015 by the Trump organisation.

Building the ‘wall’

An Taisce, the Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) and the Lahinch-based West Coast Surf Club have strongly opposed plans by the resort for a rock barrier to protect three holes at the golf resort.

Environmental activists had lobbied against the application saying that the sensitive nature of the dune system on that part of the coastline would “change the whole way the dune system works” and potentially jeopardise the beach.

However, the plan has the full backing of the local community in Doonbeg and in December Clare County Council granted permission for the two new protection structures mooted by the Trump organisation at the dunes beside the golf course. Appeals can be made to An Bord Pleanála against the decision over the next four weeks.

General manager Joe Russell said that the coastal protection works are “critical to the future of this business, its growth, sustainability and economic impact locally and in the region”.

He added that the resort is planning to build leisure facilities but said: “Coastal protection must be completed first to ensure any asset that is invested and built is protected.”

He credited the jump in revenues to improvements carried out under the injection of funding from Trump; the strength of the Trump brand internationally together with an improving economy; Ireland’s reputation as a safe destination and high levels of hospitality.

New club members

In 2016, the accounts show that the Trump organisation ploughed a further €3.1m into the resort and this followed an outlay of €5.5m in 2015. Russell claims that revenues have increased a further 10% in 2017 and that 30 new members joined the club by the end of 2017.

However, he said that the resort “will incur a small loss in 2017 largely due to ongoing investment and capital expenditure improvements” but is targeting to make a profit this year.

The combined €8m investment in 2016 and 2015 involved the funding of a redesign of the course by Dr Martin Hawtree and the redesigned course opened in May 2016 following a two-year renovation programme.

The investment in the course contributed to pre-tax losses of €2.2m in 2016 with non-cash depreciation costs making up €1.3m of that amount. The €2.2m pre-tax loss for 2016 was a 14% decline on the pre-tax losses of €2.57m sustained in 2015.

The directors state that the operating loss of €807,080 in 2016 represents “a significant improvement” on the €1.53m operating loss sustained in 2015.

Trump shareholding

President Trump resigned as a board member of TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd days prior to being sworn in as US President last January.

However, the accounts confirm that the US President retains his 100% shareholding in the Doonbeg company.

As a result of the ongoing investment, the company’s net assets last year increased by €2.3m going from €17.4m to €19.7m. The company’s cash pile increased from €211,425 to €249,446.

Numbers employed by the company last year increased from 180 to 200 with staff costs last year increasing from €4.66m to €5.26m.

A Trump ‘wall’ WILL be built in County Clare>

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Gordon Deegan

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