22/07/2009

Could Belfast's Odyssey Be Over?

Although said to be worth some £80m, there is today "significant doubt" about the future of one of Belfast's flagship entertainment complexes.

Troubled times have hit the development company behind Belfast's Odyssey facility.

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

It is reported that most of the money is owed to the Anglo Irish Bank in Dublin while accounts for the year ended March 2008 also reveal the company made a net loss of £5.7m.

However, the man behind Sheridan Millennium, Peter Curistan, last night 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," he said, speaking to BBC Newsline last night.

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

The Sheridan organisation 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.

(BMcC)

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