Trump’s Scottish golf resort loses money for eighth year in a row

Brexit uncertainty and Covid pandemic loom over US president’s Balmedie club

Peter Stubley
Thursday 31 December 2020 16:54
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Video: Donald Trump talks about the new course named after his mother at his Balmedie resort

Donald Trump's first UK golf resort has lost money for the eighth year in a row as it faces an uncertain future due to Brexit and Covid.

The outgoing US president's International Golf Club in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, recorded a loss of £1.1m for 2019 despite an 18 per cent increase in revenue, according to the latest company accounts.

Its total debts now stand at £44m against assets of £32m, and the company relies on interest-free loans of £40m from Mr Trump and £3.4 from Mr Trump's company, DJT Holdings LLC.

Mr Trump's second son Eric, as director of Trump International Golf Club Scotland, noted in a statement that the resort had to close for 16 weeks between March and July due to coronavirus restrictions.

He added: "The extent of the impact of Covid-19 on the company’s business and financial results will depend on the duration and spread of the outbreak and the related impact on consumer confidence and spending, all of which are highly uncertain in the current environment.

"Compounded by the uncertainty of Brexit anticipated in 2021, the hospitality sector globally is facing unprecedented challenges."

However the directors claimed that membership demand and green fee rates were rising and that "operational adjustments" would enable the resort to improve its profitability in the long term.

The directors also hailed Balmedie’s inclusion in Golf Digest's list of 100 Greatest Golf Courses, at number 42, as "a remarkable feat".

Trump International Golf Club Scotland, which has not posted a profit since it was opened in 2012, said "significant progress" had been made on a plan to build a 550 unit residential village beside the resort.

If successful, and the houses are sold at their advertised prices, the project could earn a profit of more than £100m for Mr Trump, who put the course in a revocable trust on becoming president.

Auditor Johnston Carmichael LLP said in its report that the resort “is dependent on continuing finance being made available to enable it to continue operating and to meet its liabilities as they fall due”.

Mr Trump, who has been supportive of Brexit and repeatedly claimed the coronavirus pandemic will "disappear", described the Balmedie course last year as "perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world".

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