Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Gordon Deegan

A total of €400,000 paid out to departing owner-directors, former RTE Dragon, Ramona Nicholas and her husband, Canice, at the Cara Group of pharmacies hit the group’s profits in 2021.

In January 2021, the High Court approved a survival scheme for the Cara Group of pharmacies that saw around 150 jobs retained and more than €14 million invested by new owners, Renrew Ltd.

The scheme involved directors, Ms Nicholas and husband Canice exiting the business and the €400,000 payout out was made up of €29,000 in redundancy payments each and an ex gratia payment of €342,000.

The couple at the time wanted details of the deal to be kept confidential but Mr Justice Denis McDonald questioned the payments commenting that the €342,000 ex gratia payment was “a very substantial payment in the context of an insolvency where creditors are suffering a very substantial write-down of their debts”.

Ramona and Canice Nicholas resigned on February 1st 2021 and the new accounts for Cara Pharmacy UC show that directors’ pay for the 12 months to the end of March 2021 totalled €680,556 that include the one-off exit payment of €400,000 and €280,556 paid out in emoluments.

The accounts further show that professional fees made up of legal and consulting fees attached to the group’s High Court examinership totalled €2.2 million.

Due mainly to an exceptional gain of €2.09 million concerning mainly the write back of liabilities, the group recorded pre-tax profits of €2.52 million.

Revenues decreased by 16 per cent from €28.22 million to €23.5 million and the fiscal 2021 revenues included revenues of €939,129 from the group’s loss-making Quayside Sligo store it shut down in March 2021.

The group recorded an operating profit of €695,713 which followed an operating loss of €6.96 million in the prior year.

Numbers employed by the group – comprising 12 stores and an online presence-reduced from 175 to 147 as staff costs declined from €6.33 million to €5 million.

The group also benefited from ‘other operating income’ made up of Covid-19 wage subsidiary supports of €727,295 and Covid-19 re-start grant income of €135,201.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €481,063 and operating lease costs of €522,417. The profit also takes account of a non-cash investment impairment of €3.79 million.

At the end of March 2021, the group had shareholder funds of €3.18 million made up of share premium of €13.45 million and called up share capital of €100,000, offset by accumulated losses of €10.36 million.

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