Head Up – Ivan – Nobody dies – You will certainly come again.

Ivan Yates’ problems are outlined in the Irish Examiner. I feel great sympathy for him. He took a decision to go the hard road and he hit Beechers Brook before falling over the Canal Turn in the Grand National of life. Ivan clearly has the ability to greave his way through this and then to rise again. Anyone who respects him should encourage him to keep going and get his head up. Ivan has a clear broadcasting and writing talent. He never hedged his personal bets and lost a hell of a lot. Think of it this way also. His punter customers also lost their shirts in the good years for him. Betting is a mad business and a serious and destructive addiction for some. Paddy Power etc are leeching off society. Why are bookies shops in working class areas overwhelmingly? Just feeding off the irrational dreams and hopes of the desperate in many cases.

Ivan has the ability to do a heel of a lot better. He should get his head up after a few weeks.

Best wishes from Bill

The Examiner reports:

With a personal debt of €6 million to the banks, the threat of bankruptcy and even the loss of his Dáil pension, former politician and now former bookmaker Ivan Yates has been forced to put his Celtic Bookmakers operation into receivership.

He is hopeful the receiver appointed by Allied Irish Bank, Neil Hughes of Hughes Blake Accountants, will be able to sell off some of the 47 shops around the country and two in Wales, saving at least 100 of the 237 jobs.

Up to 25 of the shops are viewed as fully viable, with up to 10 seen as vulnerable and likely to face immediate closure. Mr Yates feels there is appetite for shop acquisitions — having recently sold two outlets to rival operators Boyle Sports and Paddy Power.

The business will continue to trade as normal with Mr Hughes hopeful of selling the chain of shops as a going concern — either as individual units or collectively.

Among the assets at risk are the home he shares with his wife and business partner Deirdre and even the bungalow he built for his 78-year-old mother.

The Yates family invested €25m in the shops and at its peak in 2007 the operation had 63 shops dotted around the country, a turnover of €180m and an operating profit of €4m.

However, Mr Yates and his wife took a salary no greater than €25,000 throughout the lifetime of the chain and no salary in the last three years.

“People told me the value of the company was eight times the profits, it was worth €32m, that I could borrow up to four times — €16m.

“We borrowed €6m but these were the decisions I took on freely. I bought Joe Molloy for €4m, I bought UBET and I was part of the Celtic Tiger thrusting forward. I gave up politics to drive this ambition to create a national brand, a family business, and it has ended in tears.”

The steady decline in Celtic Bookmakers’ fortunes began in late 2007 when the recession began to hit a number of sectors hard. The rapid slump in the construction industry took a major toll. Regular patronage from the workers on the myriad of building sites in and around the Celtic shops dried up with the slump.

Lack of disposable income spread to workers across the economic spectrum.

Mr and Mrs Yates began fire-fighting. As well as reducing annual costs from €17m to €11.7m, they tried to restructure and refinance, to take on a board and surrender ownership, to merge with other bookmakers and to increase online presence. But to no avail. Revenue is now languishing at 50% of the boom time high three years ago.

“My feelings? Demoralisation, dejection and sadness — akin to a bereavement,” he wrote in his column.

“The most important point I wish to express is my complete heartfelt appreciation to our tremendous staff (past and present) and customers. I am truly sorry that matters have ended up in this way. We will do all we can to ensure their future prospects. Our hope is that in excess of a hundred of the jobs can be saved.”

Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/home/yates-celtic-gamble-ends-in-tears-141175.html#ixzz1A7bZE8oZ