No profit in seven years for Trump’s inaugural Scottish resort

No profit in seven years for Trump’s inaugural Scottish resort – from Scotland on Sunday  – I broke the story of Trump International Scotland’s deepening losses in its latest annual accounts covering the 12 months to 31 December 2018, which were published in October 2019. 

Donald Trump’s inaugural Scottish golf resort remains mired in the red after running up losses of more than £1m, newly published accounts show.

The US president’s Trump International Golf Links firm in Aberdeenshire posted annual losses of £1.07m in 2018, marking the seventh consecutive year it has failed to turn a profit, according to documents lodged with Companies House.

The figures are based on an annual turnover of £2.76m. The company remains reliant on interest free loans provided by Mr Trump worth £40.6m. The latest filings mean that Mr Trump’s resort, which he promised would be the “world’s greatest,” has now run up cumulative losses of more than £9.4m.

In the previous accounts, covering the 12 months to the end of December 2017, its losses ran to £1.25m, with turnover standing at £2.54m. It employed 84 staff.

The latest accounts, signed off by the Trump Organisation’s auditors in Scotland, Johnston Carmichael, cover the 12 months to the end of December 2018. They show the employee headcount has since fallen to 77. When Mr Trump first unveiled his plans for the resort, he promised it would create 6,000 jobs.

Mr Trump’s presence in Aberdeenshire stretches back 13 years. The plans for the resort were first submitted by the Trump Organisation in 2006 and approved amid much controversy by the Scottish Government in 2008. The golf course opened four years later.

The company has three directors in the form of Mr Trump’s adult sons, Eric and Donald Jr, along with Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organisation’s long serving chief financial officer. It is ultimately controlled by an entity known as the Donald J Trump Revocable Trust, a New York-based grantor trust which has two trustees – Mr Trump and Mr Weisselberg.

In his director’s report which accompanies the latest filings, Eric Trump, executive vice-president of the Trump Organisation, stressed that Mr Trump’s resort in the north east of Scotland was a prestigious destination.

“Trump International’s reputation and status with tour operators and agents across Europe, America and further afield continues to expand as its services and products evolve,” he wrote.

“Looking forward to 2019, this trend will continue and further capital investments are planned.”

He added: “Trump International continues to soar in the world golf rankings and plays an important part in the global Trump portfolio.”

In a section detailing the principal risks and uncertainties facing the business, he goes on: “The industry is both competitive and challenging, factors that are heightened by the ongoing dip in the local economy, and adverse weather conditions.”

The latest financial report has been disclosed a week after the Trump Organisation claimed victory in its contentious plans for a luxury housing development adjoining the resort, dubbed the Trump Estate.

The venture will see 500 homes and 50 holiday units built, with Mr Trump’s firm promising to spend £147.2m on the venture.

It was approved at a full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council despite thousands of objections and warnings from inside the local authority that the plans represented a “weak substitute” to what the Trump Organisation originally proposed for the area more than a decade ago.

In his director’s report, Eric Trump notes that “early indications have shown a swell of interest from developers and the public for the plans proposed.”

A separate council committee has also approved plans for a second golf course at the site, which is expected to be named after Mr Trump’s Lewis-born mother, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump.

The latest accounts are due soon for Turnberry. Mr Trump’s flagship resort in Scotland.

Its parent company shows he has lost nearly £33m since he bought the historic venue in 2014. The most recent accounts point to annual losses of £3.38m. The firm is also reliant on interest free loans from Mr Trump totalling £107m.


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