Pandemic hits Newbury Racecourse hard in its half year results

Newbury Racecourse

In another stark reminder of the crisis facing the region’s leisure, events and sporting activities, in its half year results, published today, Newbury Racecourse plc, the racing, entertainment and events business, said that 2020 trading has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government nationwide lockdown since March.

The company was required to cease all racing, hotel and conference and events trading activities on 17th March. After holding three racedays before the lockdown, racing subsequently resumed Behind Closed Doors (BCD) on 11th June and three racedays were held BCD in the first half of the year, bringing the total number of racedays for the reported period to six (compared to eleven in 2019).

Total turnover in the six months to 30th June 2020 was down 68 percent to £2.45 million – compared with the same period in 2019 (£7.57 million).

Loss before interest, tax and exceptional items of £1.64 million (2019: £0.30 million loss). Exceptional profit of £0.03m (2019: £0.05m loss).

Dominic Burke, Chairman of Newbury Racecourse plc, said: “As mentioned in the 2019 Financial Statements announcement, the current situation we now find ourselves in, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is very challenging and continually changing. We have implemented a number of positive actions to mitigate against the revenue shortfall created by the forced closure of trading activities since the March lockdown. Despite this we still expect to suffer significant losses and a depletion of our cash resources through 2020 and into the future whilst we continue to be impacted by the pandemic. We remain confident that the actions taken, some very difficult, will protect the business.

“Beyond this, the redevelopment still provides a first class venue that will enable us to continue to host racing and other events of the highest quality in the future. We retain facilities that remain well placed to meet the increasing demands of our customers, from horsemen and racegoers, to conference and hotel guests, nursery patrons and local residents as and when we are able to welcome them back to the racecourse.”

He added: “Racing behind closed doors enables us to generate some revenues, but the company needs spectators and hospitality to generate profits.”