Celtic Bookmakers have today gone into receivership, after the AIB confirmed that they have appointed a receiver for the Wexford based firm.
In a statement, directors, former minister Ivan Yates and his wife Deirdre, said significant job losses were inevitable as shops would have to close over the coming months.
Neil Hughes of Hughes Blake Accountants, who have been appointed receivers said that they will try to sell as many of the shops as possible as a going concern. Mr Hughes said the company would continue to trade as normal during the receivership and all existing bets would be honoured.
Mr Yates said that the company would work with the receiver to keep as many of the firm’s 237 jobs as possible. Celtic has 47 shops in Ireland and two in South Wales. The two Welsh shops are not affected, though they are now on the market.
Yates said that due to large bank debts of around €6m and money owed to landlords for ‘top of the market’ rents at shops throughout the country, the company was now insolvent. The company’s revenue has fallen by 50% since the middle of 2007. The directors said they had cut costs by €5m and closed 12 shops since then, but trading conditions continued to deteriorate in 2010.
‘Today is a profoundly sad day for our employees, for our families and for ourselves,’ said Ivan Yates. ‘Like many, we did not anticipate the rapid decline in the economy, but I acknowledge that the accelerated growth of the business placed the company in a difficult position given the extent of the recession”.
“I take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to all of our wonderful staff, managers, great customers, landlords and suppliers for their support and loyalty over the past 23 years. Like many, we did not anticipate the rapid decline in the economy, but I acknowledge that the accelerated growth of the business placed the company in a difficult position given the extent of the recession.”
Mr Yates confirmed that any employees made redundant would get their full statutory entitlement. Celtic expanded rapidly in earlier years, acquiring a number of smaller bookmakers’ stores to add to its portfolio. But more recently it had concentrated on cost reduction. It cut job numbers to 237 from 256 in the course of 2009. In 2005, the company had a turnover of about €105 million and Mr Yates estimated the following year that it was growing at about 20 per cent per annum. During its rapid expansion, it opened outlets in places such as Swansea, Bristol and Wales. In 2006, Celtic spent an estimated €5 million on the purchase of Dublin-based Joe Molloy Bookmakers to add a further 10 stores to the chain.
Mr Yates said in his statement he would continue with his other non-bookmaking commitments as the affairs of Celtic Bookmakers are concluded. He said he would resume his broadcasting role with Newstalk radio next Monday.