Ascot Racecourse June 4 announced its financial results for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2017, noting pre-tax profits improving from £5.1 million to £6.2 million ($6.8 million to $8.3 million).
* Turnover up 6.7% due to a strong performance from admission and fine dining at Royal Ascot, improved returns from boxes and increased income from sponsorship and Official Supplier agreements such as Christy's, St James's Place, Pernod Ricard, Porsche and Cunard;
* Investment in racecourse facilities and offerings, including the new Village Enclosure at Royal Ascot;
* Profits boosted by a successful Royal Ascot in 2017, with the meeting's ticket income up by 7%;
* Strong cash generation resulted in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation & amortisation (EBITDA) of £20.3m (£19m in 2016);
* £10.95m of the bank loan was repaid during the year, £4.3m more than the mandatory payment;
* Net debt at 31 December 2017 was £59.8m (2016: £71.8m) and Ascot remains on track to be effectively debt free by 2023;
* Continued major capital expenditure (£4.7m) with the first phase of the wayfinding and signage completed, progress on a new Customer Relationship Management system, enhancements to some bar and restaurant facilities and office refurbishment;
* 2018 trading to date in line with management expectations - Royal Ascot looks set for another strong year;
* AscotBet, Ascot Racecourse's pool betting operation, will launch as planned in July 2018, in partnership with Totepool. The customer facing brand for AscotBet will be Bet With Ascot;
* Prize money in 2018 has been increased to a record £13.45 million. This represents an increase of £1.2 million, 10% up on the 2017 figure of £12.2 million.
* Around 250 charities benefit in some way from Ascot's support each year and a partnership with the Berkshire Community Foundation ensures that local charities benefit direct. The Ascot division of the Round Table have raised over £200,000 at the fireworks raceday in recent years and Ascot's Property Raceday raises just under £200,000 per annum for children's charities. From 2015 - 2017, Ascot raised £1.1m for The Prince's Countryside Fund and over £20,000 has been raised for the Injured Jockeys Fund, via Ascot's ambassador programme.
Guy Henderson, Chief Executive at Ascot, said:
"2017 was another year of progress in our financial performance, with Royal Ascot performing particularly well. The opening of the new Village Enclosure on the inside of the track, in which we have further invested, was positively received and has generated strong sales for 2018.
"Operational improvement and site maintenance remained a key focus for us last year and that continues to be the case. We have just embarked on an extensive 10 year Planned Preventative Maintenance project, it now being 12 years since our £220 million redevelopment, under which mainly through our P&L we will be investing around an additional £2m per annum into maintaining our core racecourse facilities. We are also now in the second year of a three-year process to roll out our new brand on site, which includes significant emphasis on wayfinding.
"Prize-money, excluding the industry-owned QIPCO British Champions Day in October, will increase by £1.2 million in 2018 and the continuing growth in our international reach and appeal is pleasing. We are delighted that the Hong Kong Jockey Club will be simulcasting a fourth day of Royal Ascot this year and look forward to the launch of Bet With Ascot, our pool betting operation, in partnership with Totepool, in July.
"We thank all our partners, sponsors, customers and staff for their continued support in delivering another year of improvement all round."