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"I'm a minimalist at heart. If a song doesn't need a solo, I'm not going to force one into it." — Edge

Tax bill pushes U2 firm into the red

Irish Examiner

A TAX bill of (EU)143,558 paid by a company controlled by the four members of U2 last year pushed the company into the red.

In accounts just filed by U2 Ltd, they show that the company recorded an operating profit of (EU)575,500 to the end of December last after sustaining an operating loss of (EU)870,667 in 2008.

The company recorded the operating profit after it increased its gross profit more than threefold from (EU)618,415 to (EU)2.2 million last year. No figure for turnover is provided.

The company achieved a break-even position after it provided for (EU)576,990 against an amount due from a related party.

The company recorded the modest (EU)135 pre-tax loss after sustaining pre-tax losses of (EU)65,042 in 2008.

However, the company paid a corporation tax bill of (EU)143,558 resulting in an after-tax loss of (EU)143,693. This followed the company recording post tax losses of (EU)160,298 in 2008.

The loss last year reduced the company's accumulated profits to (EU)2.9m. The company had (EU)822,912 in cash at the end of the year — more than a doubling of the (EU)467,999 in cash at the end of 2008.

The principle activity of the company is the creation, protection and licensing of intellectual property.

No members of U2 are directors of the company. Instead, the directors are listed as Dutch national, Jan Favie described as being a managing director, a second Dutch national and company director, Gerrit Spenke and Dublin-based chartered accountant, Gaby Smyth.

The company is controlled by Not Us Ltd, which has the four members of U2; Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen as its directors.

According to the directors' report of U2 Ltd, they "are satisfied with the performance of the company for the year and the state of affairs at the year end date".

Separate accounts lodged by Not Us Ltd show it reduced its accumulated losses last year from (EU)3.69m to (EU)2.1m with its cash increasing from (EU)464,528 to (EU)2.1m during the year.

The accounts show that the number of people employed by U2 Ltd last year was nine and the staff costs came to (EU)211,910 compared to staff costs of (EU)671,458 in 2008.

The filings show that the company lost (EU)600,464 on foreign exchange losses last year compared to a foreign exchange gain of (EU)10,297 in 2008.

The accounts show the company has a shareholders' loan account that had a balance of (EU)838,368 at the end of December 2009.

(c) Irish Examiner, 2010.