Events arm makes heavy going at Newbury

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The Independent Online

An increase in the number of punters attending Newbury Racecourse failed to offset falling annual takings from concerts and conferences as the business suffered in tough economic conditions.

The Berkshire-based operator of the course said its core trading business slumped into the red last year after sales at its events arm plunged 15 per cent. The division also took a near £1m hit from its decision not to stage a Newbury Live concert because it could not secure suitable acts.

Its wider trading business made a £1.3m operating loss against profits of £160,000 in 2011 as turnover fell 6 per cent to £11.8m. But it attracted more racegoers last year – 225,000, up from 222,000 in 2011 – and said prize money increased by 10 per cent to £3.5m, helped by new sponsorship deals.

Newbury also hailed a deal with the housebuilder David Wilson Homes, which will see 1,500 homes built on three sites at the racecourse over the next decade, as pivotal to its future.