herald

Friday 19 October 2018

RTE poured €3m into ensuring €107m sale of land went smoothly

Land was sold at the RTE campus in Donnybrook
Land was sold at the RTE campus in Donnybrook

More than €3m has been spent by RTE on security and other costs linked to the sale of nine acres of prime land on the Montrose campus.

Last year, the national broadcaster sold 8.64 acres of land to Cairn Homes for €107.5m, which was more than €30m above the guide price.

Up to 500 houses and apartments are planned for the site.

"To deliver the lands unencumbered to the purchaser, a series of sales-enabling and relocation projects were required to be carried out, both pre-sale and subsequent to the sale. €3.1m will be incurred this year," an RTE spokesman said.

"Sales enabling includes extensive site works, external and internal roadworks, new entrances, walkways, traffic flows, security, parking and general site works and fittings.

"There are two new signs on site, at the entrance and to the front of the canteen. The individual supplier costs on these would be confidential and housed within the broader land sale enabling project costs."

The new signage went up on the campus two weeks ago.

RTE will have to pay a tax bill of more than €20m on the land sale, while around €10m of the proceeds has been used to pay part of its debt, according to senior management.

The Project Montrose site, representing more than a quarter of RTE's existing 32.12-acre campus, is expected to attract interest from a wide range of Irish and international investors.

In its annual report for last year, published last May, RTE's revenues were at the same level as 2016, and were helped by reduced operating costs.

It returned a lower operating deficit of €6.4m last year, compared with €19.4m in 2016.

However, the accounts showed RTE made its third successive annual loss and seventh outright loss in the past nine years.

RTE has carried out broad restructuring of operations and infrastructure, including the loss of 300 jobs through voluntary exit and early retirement schemes.

Jobs

The plans are expected to cost RTE at least €25m to shed the jobs of more than 1,900 staff members.

The sports and social club and creche have been moved to smaller locations.

Director general Dee Forbes said that "it may appear to some that RTE has plenty of money, but given the scope and breadth of our statutory obligations, the range of services we must provide and the nature and scale of the competition we face, RTE now has inadequate resources".

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