Ascot--'the Queen's Racecourse'--Incorporates as an LLC

In a further sign of the commercialization of racing in the UK, the Queen's racecourse, Ascot, has become a limited company.

The move will make it easier for Ascot to raise the £100-million plus needed for the most ambitious grandstand project ever in Europe.

Ascot Racecourse in 2000 had turnover of £25.74 million, with the pre-tax profit amounting to £7.25 million, increases of 72% and 93%, respectively, since 1996.

Douglas Erskine-Crum, the racecourse chief executive, said: "Changes in status will not undermine the essence of Ascot as the Queen's racecourse. But incorporating the business as a limited company means we can set up a modern board and gives us the opportunity to borrow money at commercial rates. We should be able to raise in the region of £100 million, though that doesn't necessarily mean we will want to borrow as much. We don't know yet how much we will need for the grandstand development because the costings haven't been completed."