Profits fall at O2 despite sold-out gigs

Sold-out concerts by One Direction and Van Morrison at Dublin’s O2 last year were not enough to prevent the group that operates the venue incurring a 17% drop in pre-tax profits to £4.99m (€5.83m).

According to accounts just lodged by UK-based Apollo Leisure Group Ltd (ALGL), revenues dipped 4% from £16.1m to £15.5m in the 12 months to the end of Dec 31, 2012, with pre-tax profits dropping from £6m to £4.9m.

The group’s only operating subsidiaries are the Dublin-based Ampitheatre Ireland Ltd that operates the O2 and Live Nation Ireland Holdings Ltd, an investment holding company that receives dividends from Amphitheatre Ireland Ltd.

According to figures from music industry journal, Pollstar, 620,555 music fans last year attended the Live Nation-operated 14,500-capacity O2, making it the fourth best-attended music arena in the world beating off the likes of New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Pollstar confirmed 87 gigs at the venue last year grossed over $41m (€32m) with receipts shared between the venue, the promoter, and artist. The O2’s gross receipts do not include the revenues it generates from ancillary revenues at its gigs.

The figures for ALGL show that an exceptional cost of £630,669 relating to the writing off of inter- company balances during 2012 hit profits.

The venue experienced a drop in average attendance last year going from 89% capacity in 2011 to 83%.

The Live-Nation-owned firm paid a dividend of £2.7m following a dividend payout of £2m in 2011.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation charge of £2.57m.

The biggest draw at the O2 last year was comedian Michael McIntyre, who played to 35,438 fans over four sold out shows grossing over $2m.

The two most lucrative gigs were staged by Paul Simon who grossed $2.09m (€1.65m) or $1m a piece last July. The most lucrative single gig staged by an Irish artist was Van Morrison who grossed $900,100 (€684,518) from his sold-out show last January.

One Direction grossed $356,591 (€275,216) for one gig in Jan 2012, and the band returned to play four sold-out gigs in March.

AlGL’s net assets totalled £51.1m. The firm’s cash reduced from £9.5m to £8.6m. A note attached to the accounts states that “the group has significant net assets, is profit making and has a considerable cash balance. The group’s forecasts project that it will continue to trade profitably and be in a strong liquidity position”.

The main promoters behind the concerts last year were MCD Productions and Aiken Promotions. The O2 declined to comment.


Lifestyle

When Tom McDonald, my father in law, discovered that his daughter was marrying a musician, I suspect it was music to his ears. It was if he’d been waiting for me.Tom Dunne: Ennio Morricone, my father-in-law, and me

More From The Irish Examiner