Page last updated at 07:47 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 08:47 UK

Odyssey company's future in doubt

Odyssey
Accounts show Sheridan Millennium has liabilities of more than 72m

There is "significant doubt" about the future of the development company behind Belfast's Odyssey entertainment complex, independent auditors claim.

The company, Sheridan Millennium, has liabilities of £72.3m, according to information filed within the past three months at Companies House.

Most of the money is owed to the Anglo Irish Bank in Dublin.

Accounts for the year ended March 2008 also reveal the company made a net loss of £5.7m.

No accounts have yet been lodged for 2008-09.

Sheridan Millennium was set up by Peter Curistan.

Speaking to BBC Newsline, Mr Curistan rebuffed any suggestion the company's future was in doubt and said they were currently looking at "three or four development opportunities".

"Those accounts were dated March 2008," he said.

"We decided that we would write down the value of Odyssey and also other bits and pieces. "We made £2.5m operating profit that year.

"Interest rates have fallen considerably since then. "We are saving over £5m a year in interest.

"We got a clear audit opinion which is very unusual in these circumstances and very good news."

There is evidence of material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern
Pricewaterhouse Coopers

Two years ago it was announced that an agreement had been struck to sell the company's stake in the Odyssey for around £100m, but the purchase did not go ahead.

Sheridan provided £30m for the Odyssey project, with the majority of the capital coming from the public purse.

It currently holds the long-term lease on the Odyssey Pavillion, home to several bars and restaurants.

Accountants Pricewaterhouse Coopers, who audited Sheridan's books, said there was "evidence of material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

The 2007-08 accounts reveal that Sheridan meets its day-to-day working capital requirements through bank facilities.

According to the figures, the company has received assurances from Anglo Irish that sufficient banking facilities will be provided to allow it to continue.

Sheridan is currently in negotiations to sell its investment property "in the foreseeable future with consequent benefits to the company's debt position".

The company's four directors, among them Mr Curistan, do however, acknowledge its uncertainty.

Mr Curistan, though, told the BBC the company was healthy.

He said he is close to selling his stake in Odyssey Pavilion, claiming it will fetch over £80m.



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