Record turnover for WRU
September 3, 2008

A record turnover income of PS50.3m and a profit before tax and exceptional items of PS3.0m was posted by the Welsh Rugby Union Group in the year which saw the Wales team bring home the Grand Slam trophy to Wales.

For the year ended 31 May 2008, the record turnover of the Group was a 15% increase on the prior year and a £2.0m profit before tax turnaround was achieved in comparison to a loss of £2.3m the previous year.

Another figure in the report which indicates how successful the year 2007/08 was the profit before interest, tax, depreciation, exceptional items and allocations to affiliated organisations ("EBITDA") of £23.6m (2007: £21.1m). This 12% increase in EBITDA allowed the Group to increase its allocations to affiliated organisations to a record £15.2m (2007: £14.9m) as the Group's re-investment in rugby continues.

The Group also posted exceptional items of £1.0m arising from re-organisation and litigation costs and further clean up of the Group's balance sheet,

In addition to the profit, the Group also improved its working capital management and improved its position by £3.6m (2007: negative 1.9m)

The Annual Report published today (Wednesday) also reveals that the Group was able to reduce its debt to Barclays Bank PLC by £10.0m to £45.0m and the net debt of the Group was reduced by £6.5m.

Net assets of the Group increased by £1.3m.

The figures are published for the first time in the Annual Report of the Welsh Rugby Union Group which pinpoints the results as a signal of progress towards achieving long term sustainability for the future of our national game in Wales.

Within the financial year which included a winning Wales in the RBS Six Nations tournament the Millennium Stadium itself hosted a total of 27 major events and 17 smaller community events.

Those showpiece events at the stadium included a Rugby World Cup 2007 quarter final between New Zealand and France, a Heineken Cup Final with Munster defeating Toulouse as well as boxing with Joe Calzaghe defeating Mikkel Kessler in front of a 50,000 crowd, Rod Stewart, The Police, the Monster Jam . There was also international soccer , EDF Energy Cup rugby semi finals, speedway, the Ideal Business Show, Rugby League and, of course, the Grand Slam celebration party which was free for fans.

WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said: "It has been an excellent year on and off the field which reflects the success of the strategies and the operational plans we now work to.

"These record figures are evidence that we are achieving our goals in a meaningful way and our re-investment which will benefit the whole of Welsh rugby.

"Of course there are challenging times ahead, but we have put in place structures and systems which have strengthened the organisation and bolstered our strategic planning and preparation.

"A lot of hard work, analysis and restructuring has taken place and that effort is now beginning to bear fruit.

"We are on course towards our ambition for the year ahead which will be to continue to create long term sustainability for all our activities underpinned by sound financial management.

"There is still a lot of work to be done, but I am now confident we have the right people in post, working within modern business structures towards clear goals which will deliver long term success.

"To achieve the kind of business success we have over the past year alongside a Grand Slam performance by our national team is particularly pleasing.

"On the field I am sure our successes have been a factor in helping to improve the participation levels in the community game and off the field our achievements have similarly reaped rewards. We have renegotiated the terms of our loan with Barclays Bank which is clear recognition of the robust financial structures and management systems we now have in place. I particularly want to thank our Group Finance Director, Steve Phillips, for achieving the changes which have led to that success.

"Going forward we cannot be complacent but I want all the followers of Welsh rugby to note that our successes are now measured in more than words and this report is profound evidence that we are delivering on our promises."

The Group Finance Director of the WRU, Steve Phillips, added: "These are a pleasing set of results, particularly in a Rugby World Cup year which is commercially challenging with the loss of our popular Autumn international series. The results have allowed us to both improve and continue our re-investment in Welsh rugby for future successes"

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