Wembley stays in the red with pounds 8m hangover

NIGEL COPE

An increase in the number of pop concerts - including several by Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi - helped increase operating profits at leisure group Wembley last year, though restructuring charges still dragged the troubled company to an pounds 8m loss.

The company is awaiting the decision of the Sports Council on whether Wembley or Manchester will be chosen as the preferred location for the new National Stadium. Wembley expects the long-delayed decision in the next few months and the board said yesterday that it had "an extremely strong case".

The 72-year-old stadium has already beat off rival bids from Birmingham, Sheffield and Bradford and is now in a two horse race.

Finance director Nigel Potter dismissed suggestions that the company's future relied upon winning the nomination. "In the short to medium term it would have little or no impact because we have contracts with the FA for major events that last until 2002," he said.

"Whichever way the decision falls Wembley Stadium will always be an attractive international location for sports and entertainment events.

Wembley said the appointment of Peter Mead, a director of the advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers as a non executive director last week would boost its marketing campaigns. Jarvis Astaire, the showbusiness impresario, will remain on the board and draw on his contacts in political circles to help Wembley's case.

In the year to December 1995 Wembley reduced its losses to pounds 8m compared to the previous year's pounds 35m. The loss is attributable to the cost of re- financing of the group last year.

Operating profits increased from pounds 11.7m to pounds 19.7m boosted by seven pop concerts held during the year, compared to none in 1994. The total number of events rose from 22 to 29.

Bookings for 1996 are also ahead of last year at both Wembley Arena and the stadium. Concerts confirmed for this year include Tina Turner, The Eagles and the Three Tenors. Six European Championship football fixtures are also scheduled for Wembley this summer.

Profits at the US greyhound racing tracks have been boosted by a full year contribution from 856 video lottery terminals at the venue in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Sales and profits were down at the UK greyhound arcing tracks with Wembley blaming the fall on the National Lottery.

Chairman Claes Hultman said the company had generated pounds 23m of free cash flow last year and reduced its gearing to 42 per cent compared to lat year's level of 323 per cent. Its borrowings now stand at pounds 65m. He stressed that no acquisitions would be made. "We have plenty of ideas to make these assets sweat," he said.

Last year was traumatic for Wembley. As well as a refinancing and a pounds 35m loss it included the departure of long standing chairman Sir Brian Wolfson and five others including Sir Peter Thompson and Alex McCrindle. Alan Coppin was appointed chief executive.

The shares closed 2p down at 365p last night.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'