Wasps Holdings Limited - Annual Results for the year ended 30 June 2016

Wasps Holdings Limited - Annual Results for the year ended 30 June 2016


Wasps, an English Premiership rugby union club and owner of the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, one of the UK’s leading sports, exhibition, conferencing and entertainment arenas, today announces its results for the year ended 30 June 2016. The results announced today reflect the first full year of ownership of the Ricoh Arena following acquisition of Arena Coventry Limited (“ACL”), the owner of the Ricoh Arena, and move in December 2014.

Group Financial highlights
- Revenue increased 44% to £30.9m
- Gross margin up from 24.8% to 33.5%
- Operating loss before exceptional items and allocation to non-controlling interests of £3.8m (£2.4m – in 2014/15)
- EBITDA £2.2m loss (£1.7m loss in 2014/15)
- Retained loss for the year £2.3m (£6.3m in 2014/15)
- Asset cover ratio 1.7; Bond covenant set at 1.4
- Valuation of the Arena unchanged at £48.5m and P shares unchanged at £9.7m
Wasps highlights
- Exceeded aim of finishing in top six, finishing 3rd in the Aviva Premiership and Semi-finals of European Champions Cup
- Average attendance of 16,916 versus 11,401 in 2014/15, despite the effect of Rugby World Cup which had an estimated impact of 20,000 – 30,000 on total [Premiership] attendance
- Hospitality and Sponsorship improved 86% on 2014/15 and ticket income up 19%
- Season Ticket sales for 2016/17 up 24% and seasonal hospitality sales up over 50% for 2016/17
- New central deal with RFU will increase annual income by £1.2m on average over the next eight years
- Investment in the squad, strengthened for 2016/17 with additions of Danny Cipriani, Kyle Eastmond, Tommy Tayler, Matt Symons, Kurtley Beale and Willie LeRoux
- Training facility at Broadstreet opened and very successful
- New wearable technology partner Fitbit
- Launch of Wasps netball for 2016/17 will be an exciting extension of the brand
ACL highlights
- First three quarters were strong for conference and exhibition business and new Compass agreement working smoothly
- Hotel conversion to DoubleTree by Hilton has proved very successful with Rev Par currently improved to over £50 (£36 in 2014/15) although earnings impacted by construction time
- Music strategy re-launched in 2015/16 attracted world-class acts: including Bruce Springsteen, Rhianna, Jess Glynne and MTV Crashes, compared to none in the prior year
- Hosting of stadium concerts increased operating costs and we are reviewing the appropriate economic model to reduce impact of events that fall below expectation, as in the case of MTV Crashes, for future events
- We will continue to strengthen our position as a favourite in the UK for music promoters
- New Xtragrass pitch was installed during the summer of 2015, benefitting Coventry City Football Club and attracting the Ricoh’s first England Football U21 game
- Railway station open and operating for match days
- 4 Nations Rugby League and International Netball signed up for 2016/17
- New naming rights for Indoor Arena: Ericsson, and a partnership on the forthcoming development of a high density WI-FI throughout the Arena

David Armstrong, Chief Executive said:
“This set of results reflects the full year impact of acquiring the Ricoh Arena. This has been a year of investment both on and off the pitch. We were delighted to finish third in the Aviva Premiership and at the high standard, exciting rugby played by the team. Attendances have been strong, despite the impact of the Rugby World Cup and absence of an Anglo-Welsh competition, which affected total revenue. However, the new season has started strongly. We have made progress with our plans at the Ricoh Arena, in particular the refurbishment of our hotel to become a DoubleTree by Hilton and the opening of our temporary training facility at Broadstreet RFC.

“Although EBITDA was below original expectations due to the factors outlined above, as well as the timing of acquisition of partnerships , revenue growth of 44% is encouraging and we are confident in the future of the Club and the continued benefits of bringing together Wasps and ACL.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our supporters, both old and new, and everyone involved both on and off the field. I am excited about the year ahead and at the strong start we have already made for the 2016/17 season. This will be an important year of financial transformation in our goal to be more financially stable for the long-term and we look forward to the year ahead with confidence.”

The full report and accounts are available here. A webcast presentation for Wasps Finance PLC Bondholders will be held on Wednesday 2 November, for more details click here.

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For more information, please contact
Wasps T: +44 (0)7809 512172
Melissa Platt

About Wasps and the Ricoh Arena
Wasps is a professional rugby team which plays in the Aviva Premiership, European Rugby Champions Cup. Wasps has been crowned European Champions twice and English Champions five times. For more information about the Club and our partners please visit www.wasps.co.uk

The Ricoh Arena is an award-winning venue which has a mix of state-of the art conference, banqueting, exhibition, hotel, music and sports facilities. Visited by over 1.2 million people each year, it is a firm favourite in the UK for music promoters as well as business and sports event organisers. The facilities include:

- 32,600 seat stadium; a concert venue of 40,500 capacity
- 121 room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
- One of the UK’s largest casinos operated by Grosvenor Casinos
- 20,000sqm of conference and exhibition hall
- 3 restaurants, 5 bars
- 2,000 onsite car parking bays

The combination of Wasps and the Ricoh Arena creates a symbiotic relationship between these businesses through complementary interests across sponsors, media, exhibition organisers and conference hosts. Additionally, there are considerable marketing synergies across the retail/consumer customer groups, including rugby and football fans themselves.