Promoter Desmond’s UK firm hit by profits slump

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Promoter Desmond’s UK firm hit by profits slump


Dividend: Denis Desmond’s Academy Music Group runs a string of profitable venues across the UK
Dividend: Denis Desmond’s Academy Music Group runs a string of profitable venues across the UK

Pre-tax profits at a UK-based music venue operator co-owned by concert promoter, Denis Desmond last year declined by 19pc to £6.34m (€7.35m).

Mr Desmond and Caroline Downey’s Gaiety Investments operate Academy Music Group (AMG) Ltd in a joint venture with music giants, Live Nation. New accounts for AMG show that the firm recorded the drop in profits in spite of revenues increasing by 7pc from £48.39m to £51.69m.

Mr Desmond heads up MCD Productions here and through the joint venture with Live Nation, the LN Gaiety Holdings Ltd entity, Gaiety Investments owns 28pc of AMG.

AMG last year paid a dividend of £35m and this translates to a £9.8m dividend for Mr Desmond’s and Ms Downey’s Dublin-based Gaiety Investments.

The dividend declared in March 2018 was the first large dividend declared since 2015 and between 2015 and 2011, AMG paid out £40.44m in dividends to its shareholders.

The Live Nation-controlled AMG is the leading owner and operator of live music venues in the UK.

Venues under its banner include the Shepherd’s Bush Empire 02, Brixton Academy 02 and regional venues across the UK, including the O2 Academy in Leicester and the O2 Academy in Sheffield.

Last year, AMG staged 3,179 shows and audience numbers increased by 1.6pc from 2.72m to 2.81m.

The spend per head by customers increased from £8.03 to £8.36.

The number of shows dropped marginally “after the company withdrew some underperforming weekly clubs from the estate and the in-house promotion team placed a greater emphasis on quality versus quantity of bookings”.

The directors say these measures resulted in increased numbers of admissions and an increase of average show profit from £5,929 to £6,688.

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The dividend payout resulted in accumulated profits decreasing from £34.76m to £6.8m. The company’s cash pile during the year reduced from £11.1m to £8.18m.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of £3.29m and operating leases of £2.72m.

Numbers employed by the business last year increased from 335 to 354 with staff costs increasing from £9m to £9.6m.

Gigs by U2, Michael Bublé and Taylor Swift helped maintain MCD’s top global 10 ranking amongst promoters with 1.933 million fans attending MCD gigs here.

Irish Independent

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