Hili Ventures ltd (HV), the group behind the hotly-debated Comino project, announced on Thursday (yesterday) that turnover for the year ended 2022 increased by 32.7 per cent over the previous year as it reported a figure of €782.6 million (2021: €589.6 million).

This increase was mainly the result of revenue generated from new retail outlets opened during the year and organic growth following disruptions over the last two years to its retail operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organisation has seven main direct subsidiaries that include: Premier Capital plc, 1923 Investments plc, Hili Properties plc, Hili Finance Company plc, HV Marine Limited, Cobalt Leasing Ltd and HV Hospitality Limited. The latter is engaged in the redevelopment of the hotel and bungalows at Comino which are at the design stage and awaiting planning permission.

 Operating profit amounted to €67.8 million, a 24.4 per cent increase over the previous year’s €54.3 million.

When factoring in net investment income and finance costs, the organisation registered a pre-tax profit of €49.8 million from continuing operations, as compared to €39.9 million in 2021.

The holding company registered an operating loss of €2.5 million (2021: €2.1 million). After accounting for net investment income and finance costs the company registered a pre-tax profit of €10.1 million from continuing operations as compared to €9.9 million in 2021.

The group and the company’s statements of financial position at the year-end report net assets amounting to €210.3 million and €76 million respectively (2021: €154.6 million and €75.4 million).

When it comes to the liquidity position in 2022, an improvement was reported with a current ratio (ratio of current assets to current liabilities) was reported at 0.92 as opposed to the 1.13 of 2021.

The net gearing ratio (ratio of long-term debt to its equity), on the other hand, stood at 63 per cent as opposed to 2021’s 65 per cent.

HV generated an EBITDA from continuing operations of €99.2 million in 2022, a significant improvement over 2021’s €85 million.

Through its main subsidiaries, the organisation sees itself continue to grow by taking advantage of investment opportunities within certain sectors. An average increase of 12 restaurants per year over the next five years is planned for Premier Capital plc whilst within 1923 Investments plc, iSpot plans to increase its outlets in Poland as part of its organic growth initiatives. HV admitted that there were challenges in the commercial real estate industry due to rising interest rates impacting property values, however the intention is for Hili Properties plc is to remain committed to its strategic objectives.

The directors are also actively following the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, and while the group has no direct interest vested in the country, it is monitoring the effects of the situation on its operations in neighbouring countries Romania, the Baltics and Poland.

The group highlighted how inflationary pressures and heightened utility costs are presently being experienced by certain operations within the group and that it was challenging to quantify and differentiate what extent of such pressures emanate from the unrest in Ukraine and the post effect of COVID-induced events, but the it acknowledges that the “compounded effect on the footprint of managed restaurants is potentially material.”

Projections continued to show stable performance despite the uncertainty of the current state of affairs on its operations and it has vowed to remain vigilant in monitoring restrictions on the conduct of business with sanctioned entities and individuals.

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