The 18-acre site in Bray, County Wicklow, is the largest studio facility in Ireland, offering seven sound stages, and is the only media hub in the country able to provide full-service production, post-production and support services for feature film and television productions. The facility houses 170,000 square feet of production studios and support facilities, as well as 2.6 hectares of backlot space.
Majority shareholders Ossie Kilkenny and Paul McGuinness, who have owned Ardmore for nearly 30 years, and original shareholder Enterprise Ireland have agreed the time is right to sell the studios, which have seen more than €2 million ($2.2 million) of investment in recent years to provide enhanced and upgraded facilities. This in turn has led to a growth in profitability,with Ardmore operating at an average annual capacity of 85-90% since 2013. Ardmore saw a before-tax profit of €1.5 million ($1.65 million) in 2014 and €1.6 million ($1.76 million) last year.
Demand for space in Ireland from international productions remains high thanks to the Section 481 tax incentive scheme. Ardmore expanded its studio footprint earlier this year, opening The Film Factory, a 47,000 square-foot facility, to provide additional studio space to help meet this demand.
Built in 1958 the facility has played host to hundreds of international productions over its near 60-year history, as well as major high-end television productions including Showtime’s “The Tudors” and “Penny Dreadful.”
The sale will have no direct impact on the day-to-day operations of Ardmore Studios, which has numerous productions slated for the coming year. Current productions located at Ardmore include Farhad Safinia’s feature “The Professor and the Madman,” starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn, and the second season of AMC and eOne’s “Into the Badlands.”
IBI Corporate Finance is acting on behalf of Ardmore Studios for the sale.