Wholesalers call for excise rebate

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Wholesalers have launched a campaign to receive an excise duty rebate for alcohol products sold before the cuts in December's budget were introduced



26 January 2010

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A campaign by wholesalers to gain an alcohol excise duty rebate from the Revenue Commissioners hopes to reach a positive conclusion within the next “two or three weeks.” According to Jim Barry of Cork-based wholesaler and distributor, Barry Group, he and other retailers have arranged meetings with “high level ministers” to resolve the problem.

Barry told ShelfLife that the campaign had previously managed to persuade the Department of Finance to conduct a review on whether an excise duty rebate for alcohol products distributed before tax cuts in December’s budget should be introduced. However, after Christmas the wholesalers involved were told a rebate would not be forthcoming.

“We will not accept that,” said Barry, who claims the campaign has now generated “fresh awareness” among politicians and those in the industry.    

The move devalued existing stock by 10 to 12% during the busy Christmas period. Barry believes this will have serious consequences in terms of job losses and closures for small to medium wholesalers. He has estimated that the cost to his own business stands at €200,000, while another wholesaler he knows allegedly faced losses over €500,000 as a result of the move.
Barry had hoped the error, which was “not properly thought out” by Government, could be resolved in two or three weeks as “cash flow complications” are already setting in. He also claimed that while the Barry Group was not as “fatally” affected as others, he wanted the Government to rectify its error for the entire sector on “a point of principal.”

In December, The Barry Group announced the completion of its acquisition of the Carry Out off-licence business, which has 52 stores nationwide and a 35% share of the specialist off-licence market. The takeover is expected to add €42 million to the Barry Group’s annualised turnover of €212.5 million reported in 2009.



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