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St Helens rugby league club lost £2.4m during 2011 when they played season in Widnes
SAINTS recorded financial losses of about £2.4million during their season playing at Widnes - but chairman Eamonn McManus today insisted the club’s future remains bright now they have Langtree Park.
He believes the timely completion of the stadium gives the club a platform on which they can build towards a position of strength and confidence.
The £2.4m loss, recorded during the year the club played fixtures in Widnes as they awaited the completion of the £30m stadium at Peasley Cross, had been anticipated, added McManus, who described the season at the Stobart Stadium as a “necessary year of sacrifice”.
The losses are significantly greater than the deficit of £1.35million recorded for the financial year up to 2010, the club’s final year at Knowsley Road, and £940,000 in 2009.
McManus, the club’s owner whose financial investment and management is widely credited with securing Saints’ viability, has made no secret that the rugby league club as a business must drive up revenue streams now Langtree Park is completed.
With gates on the rise significantly since the stadium opened in early 2012, and the conference and corporate facilities available to generate business around the year, the outlook would appear to be brighter.
McManus added that in the seven months at Langtree Park, Saints “already seeing a very substantial improvement in financial performance”.
A statement published on the club’s website indicated that despite the loss, St Helens RFC believe their financial position is far stronger now that the club owns the new stadium.
Taking ownership of Langtree Park has increased audited shareholder funds in the financial year to October 31, to more than £20 million from a negative figure in previous years, the statement added.
In a statement, McManus said: “The ownership by the club of Langtree Park has transformed our balance sheet and provides us with a strong financial and operating platform to take us commercially to a position of strength and confidence.
“Although there are significant start-up costs in our first season at Langtree Park and it has opened one-third of the way through the financial year ending in October 2012, we are already seeing a very substantial improvement in financial performance, and this will strengthen even more materially in 2013.
“We are also likely to see a further strengthening of our balance sheet in 2012 and beyond as the stadium’s fit out costs are capitalised.
“Given the general state of the economic environment which we are currently operating in, this is a remarkable achievement and the completion and opening of Langtree Park could not have been more timely.
“The losses in the season at Widnes were expected and budgeted for by the club and reflected a significant drop on gate receipts and in all attendant lines of commercial income.
“It was a necessary year of sacrifice to attain a platform for stability and growth.”