Pity poor Gerry Harvey, billionaire owner of Harvey Norman – stuck in Irish lease contracts for the next 20 years, it’s estimated it could cost the company AUS$400 million to leave.
Announcing Harvey Norman’s annual results last week, executive chairman Harvey was customarily colourful, deflecting attention from his Irish woes and preferring to highlight the woes besetting his Australian customers. Headlines after last week’s annual results focused on Harvey’s comments about how Australians should be happy as ”pigs in shit” given the nation’s prosperity from the mining boom. But they masked the red ink besetting the Irish operations that continue to bleed.
In 2009, the loss was nearly $50 million. Last week, Harvey Norman said the operating loss in Ireland and Northern Ireland for 2011 was $38.6 million, comparing it with a $51.1 million loss in 2010.