EAMONN McManus has reassured Saints supporters that the club are on course to break even for this year after financial reports revealed losses of £2.4million for 2013.
The rugby league club’s owner painted a positive picture for 2014 despite figures that may raise anxiety among fans.
The increase in losses for last year is blamed largely on EMC – the catering company which Saints’ hospitality arrangements were outsourced to - going into liquidation mid season. It is understood this cost the club in excess of £500,000.
Costs of fitting out the stadium’s interior and completion of exterior steel cladding, combined with a disappointing start to last season, which reduced earnings from gates and hospitality, were other factors, as were the depreciation of owned assets and interest payments.
But McManus, who had warned 12 months ago that the 2013 results would not look good, is bullish about the future, although there can be no escaping that the investment of both he and director Mike Coleman, the Singapore-based businessman, have been crucial to the club in recent years.
Senior Saints sources also insist there is confidence about the club’s finances – underlined by a cash bid of about £50,000 being lodged sign the Hull KR stand off Travis Burns last week – and that the investment and transformation of the way it is now being run will be evident in the coming years.
Having the club-owned stadium, registered as a £27m fixed asset, is also said to leave Saints in a much stronger financial footing than some Super League rivals.
After the collapse of EMC, the club brought the catering operation in house, swelling the numbers employed part time or full time employees from195 to 647.
In a chairman’s report submitted in accounts filed to Companies House, McManus said the strategy is to “maximise value from non-match day earnings so that the club can reinvest in a strong youth academy and provide income to fund key senior signings”.
He also predicts a growth in sponsorship over the next three years, as the Super League restructure comes into effect from 2015, and has championed the positive impact of a new television deal with Sky.
The general improvement of the economy, which the club has noted through increased gates and spend at Langtree Park, has added to the optimism.
McManus’ report added: “The club’s objective to become self financing and less reliant on directors’ financial support is progressing well against the long term plan.”
In a press release issued on Monday, McManus said: “We expect to break even this year and are now strongly positioned to be profitable operationally in 2015 and beyond.”