The Millbrook mint

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Millbrook Resort is now a nice little earner for long-time owners, the Ishii family of Japan. 

For the first time, the resort’s financial picture can be made public now Mountain Scene has obtained a set of accounts. 

In the year to September 2009, there was an after-tax profit of virtually $12 million on sales of nearly $36m – a healthy 33 per cent ratio. 

Yet this has been a 20-year long-term project for the Ishiis, father Eiichi and son Gota, and Millbrook has sometimes been a millstone. 

In 2008, for example, there was an after-tax loss of $212,000. 

The core of Millbrook’s business has always been residential property sales – villas, cottages, homes and bare land, all at premium prices – wrapped around a swanky golf resort and spa. 

While not glaringly obvious in the accounts, you get the impression the resort operation drains property profits.
Staff – almost all dedicated to the hotel, golf course and spa – were paid $6.3m for the year, while another line item “resort operation cost of sales” is $3.4m. 

Popular though it is, Millbrook needs scads of golf and spa guests to recover this combined $9.7m. 

In addition, the single biggest reason for Millbrook’s year-on-year profit turnaround is a $6m reduction in property development costs in 2009 – indicating property sales in the 2009 accounting year were from sites developed in prior years. 

The resort’s interest bill was also cut by $1.5m after repaying borrowings of $15m. That leaves external loans of $19m – $12.6m from BNZ and $6.4m from Japan’s Bonny Corporation – plus $15.4m in shareholder and related party advances.