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Eamonn McManus: Saints moving to a stronger financial position
3:40pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
EAMONN McManus has voiced confidence Saints will record a “major improvement” in financial performance by 2014 – after results for the past year showed yearly losses had been cut by nearly two thirds to £892,710.
The rugby league club’s chairman described figures to the end of financial year October 2012 – which marked the first season in Langtree Park - as “significant”.
The previous year had bled £2.4m when Widnes was used as a playing venue.
The new stadium has also brought a sharp increase in revenues, which were up to £5.8m for the end of October 31, 2012 - a leap of £1.4m on the previous year.
Saints said this was mainly due to “improved season ticket and gate receipts” as well as rises in corporate hospitality and event income that followed the move to the £30m stadium.
In a statement in which he set out plans to embark on a refinancing package that is the final part of his 12-year strategy, McManus - the former Hong Kong based investment banker - says the latest results are “creditable”.
However, the losses do underline that Saints are still some way from preventing losses at a time when a number of the sport’s top flight clubs have endured serious money woes.
McManus warned of a “challenging” 2013 because of disappointing results in Super League, particularly at home, and an early exit from the Challenge Cup.
Off the field has not been without its headaches either - most notably when its corporate hospitality contractor EMC went in to administration.
The situation – which led to Saints having to take catering in-house – led to a downturn in income but McManus stressed the company had been performing well below “reasonable expectations” in any case.
On a positive note he added: “We have taken the catering operation in-house and this is already showing improved results which will come in to full fruition in 2014.”
Another cost for the club is the installation of cladding on the West, North and East stands. The open design of the stadium – which left supporters exposed to weather – had become a tricky subject and infuriated some supporters.
The club has not revealed the cost of cladding and although it is believed to be significant, McManus says it represents a “very sound investment as Langtree Park will look absolutely magnificent”.
The chairman – who took the rare step of paying a £50,000 transfer fee to sign Wakefield forward Kyle Amor this week – presented a robust vision and believes a looming restructuring of Super League will stand in Saints’ favour.
He added: “The club and the town now have a new stadium without equal in the game, owned outright by the club.
“It is a real testament to the club and to the town and to the game of rugby league.The directors of the club have shown a very major financial commitment to the game as well as to the cub and its town.
“We expect a major improvement in financial performance in 2014 over 2013 when new operations will have bedded in fully at the new stadium and material additional capital expenditure projects will have ceased.
“Furthermore, we are particularly confident in the financial performance of the club and of the wider game from 2015 onwards, resulting from the restructuring of the format of Super League.
“Given the very substantial investments which the club has made in recent years, we will be rightfully and strongly positioned to benefit from an improvement in Super League’s overall financial performance.
“(We would also hope to take advantage of) a pick up in the wider economy after a number of years of severe recession, from which we have emerged in a much stronger position.”
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