Deeds and WeedsAugust 21, 2009

Skibo Castle Goes Into the Red

Skibo Castle, the lavish private golf club and sporting retreat near Dornoch, Scotland -- once part of the private club empire of Peter de Savary and probably best known for hosting Madonna's 2000 wedding to film director Guy Ritchie -- is now losing money, according to this story in The Herald. The cause, of course, is the recession and its effects on the economy, particularly the high-end travel and resort industry, in which Skibo Castle resides.

According to the article, "[Skibo Castle] ... posted an operating loss of £13,000 for the year to the end of March, compared with an underlying profit of £169,000 the year before. At the pre-tax level, the situation grew even more bleak, as losses deepened to £1.03m, compared with a loss of £648,000 last time."

In 2007 Skibo claimed to have reached its membership goal of 500, each of whom paid £23,000 to join, plus annual dues of £7,000. But according to The Herald story, Skibo is accepting applications for membership, indicating it is operating at less than capacity. The story also says Skibo's currently has 183 full- and part-time employees, about 20 below normal levels.Â

Skibo's general manager, Peter Crome, wouldn't comment on the facility's financial state, but insisted the long-term outlook for Skibo Castle remains rosy. "In spite of the challenging environment -- and we expect this current year to be challenging also -- we are quite confident about the future," he told The Herald. "We're carrying on happily."

-- G.R.