The 60yearold company buying Irelands best horses for Chinese billionaires

first_img Share13 Tweet Email4 Get Fora’s NEW daily digest of the morning’s key business news: Saturday 25 Mar 2017, 8:35 PM Short URL 27,578 Views Image: Arthur Ellis By Fora Staff Take me to Fora Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Photo Call Source: BBA IrelandHopes and fearsBusiness from across the Atlantic is also showing good signs of recovery for the first time since the recession, according to Murray.During the global economic downturn, the bloodstock industry was crippled. In 2008, auction sale prices more than halved.As a commission-based business that usually takes a 5% cut of the price for a horse, BBA Ireland’s revenues were also hit by the recession.“It’s not a repeat business, year-on-year, with the same people turning up willing to spend the same money. You could have a new client base every year in the purchasing and sourcing end of the business,” Murray said.The next hurdle on the immediate horizon is the fallout from the UK’s decision to leave the EU – although the BBA Ireland boss is notably less concerned than others in the local bloodstock industry.“There is no point in worrying about it, but there is potential for it to be destructive. Will there be tariffs on trade between Ireland and the UK, who knows? I highly doubt it, I just don’t see how there could be.“I could see it having huge implications for the transport end of our business. A lot of exports out of Ireland are done from UK airports. You might send a horse across England to Amsterdam to fly to China or Singapore. If it’s a hard border, we will have a lot of problems.”Murray said his main concern, however, was the performance of the latest crop of horses his firm had secured for buyers.Clients want winners – and having a track record of winners to show potential clients is what drives business.“At this time of year, the flat season is about to start and our clients have something in the region of 125 two-year-olds that hopefully will get to a racetrack this year – and all are potential future champions.“At this point in the year we are all full of hope. The bloodstock game is one built on optimism. If you’re not an optimist, you wouldn’t get involved.”Written by Killian Woods and posted on Fora.ie The 60-year-old company buying Ireland’s best horses for Chinese billionaires BBA Ireland helps well-heeled buyers around the world find the top racing talent. Mar 25th 2017, 8:35 PM “We can manage our clients’ affairs for them. We can source a particular type of horse, manage their racing stable for them, manage a band of broodmares and everything that goes along with it.”These services can involved handling some major sums of money for clients. While Murray said €20,000 could buy a thoroughbred with the chance of winning a few races, the true champions tended to change hands in seven-figure deals.One of the biggest deals the firm has brokered was for a horse with a final auction price of €6 million.However, possibly its biggest success to date was Photo Call, which won a Group One race and ran fifth in the Breeders Cup. The horse was subsequently sold by a partnership of clients for $3 million. Source: Arthur EllisChinese marketThe UK market has traditionally been the biggest money-maker for the company, but interest has been growing for its services – and for Irish horses – from many different corners of the world.Earlier this year, BBA Ireland airlifted 76 horses purchased at sales in Goffs from Ireland to China for billionaire buyer Zhang Yuesheng.Collectively the cargo was worth €2 million – and was the biggest-ever single movement of Irish thoroughbreds abroad.Murray said most of BBA Ireland’s business has been done with China this year, but government policies in the world’s most populous nation were holding back further growth.“China is doing proper business lately and there is serious spending power coming out of there.“It’s a huge country and it needs to be populated with horses, but the reality in China is that there is a governmental ban on gambling, which is what limits the degree to which the industry can develop.“I don’t think there is ever going to be legalised gambling there, so it may well remain on a small scale. But a small scale in a huge country like China can still be lucrative.” Image: Arthur Ellis 9 Comments http://jrnl.ie/3307051 IRELAND’S REPUTATION AS the ‘land of the horse’ – not to mention its thoroughbreds’ records on the track – means the country’s racehorses are always in high demand.And where there is demand, there’s usually a buck to be made.Over 60 years ago, Tom Cooper and Tim Vigors saw a business opportunity and, as experienced bloodstock sales agents, started to offer their services as middlemen.For a commission-based fee, they began offering their expertise to help well-heeled racehorse buyers.However many of those clients were only looking for the ‘race-day experience’ and didn’t want to deal with paperwork for issues like insurance as their prized assets were shipped around the world.So in 1956, the pair incorporated their business, BBA Ireland, to offer the complete suite of services.The firm’s current managing director, Declan Murray, said the company is effectively a “one-stop shop” for anyone who wants to get into the industry.“The concept was new to everyone then, and these guys had the jump on a lot of other people and kept adding new strings to their bow.last_img read more