Kent County Cricket Club has announced pre-tax operating losses of £706,536 for the financial year to 31 October 2008. The Club’s Officials point to major factors that led to shortfalls on their budgets set in late 2007:
* Delays to the planned St Lawrence re-development scheme with preferred partners Persimmon Homes (South East Ltd), and hotel developers Vantage Ltd
* The loss of expected sponsorship payments of £100,000 from the re-development partners and projected interest on capital receipts of around £125,000
* Poor weather, that badly affected 14 days play during home games with a resultant drop in gate receipts, catering spend and profits from the Club Shops
* The adverse economic environment which badly affected the Club’s commercial income
Though the Spitfires reached two one-day finals, the additional knock-out games led to an inrcease in team bonuses, travel and hotel costs. A decline in membership led to a £20,000 shortfall in budget. Match receipts went up by £80,000 – some £60,000 ahead of budget, but that figure was eroded by player bonuses and added travel costs.
Health and Safety issues at Canterbury and Beckenham led to unbudgetted maintenance costs in the region of £50,000 and, for the first time in many seasons, marketing income fell to £465,000 (£100,000 under budget) including a significant shortfall in profits from the Club’s retail outlets.
Physiotherapy Clinic profits and those from the Kent Academy Sports Centre were also slightly down.
Players’ salary costs increased to £1.49m (£130,000 over budget) which included ECB pize money whilst coaching costs increased by £12,000.
The Club has responded to the recession by downsizing and restructuring its management and marketing departments with the overall loss of 7 jobs to redundancy. The Club’s bank borrowing has also been re-structured.
Honorary Treasurer Alister Dunning said: "At the time our budgets were prepared we, in common with people everywhere, did not forsee the extent of the economic downturn awaiting us. The last step in the planning procedure was the Section 106 Agreement with the planning authority. That was finally signed in January 2008 so by the time we hoped to sign the agreement with our partners the downturn was already starting to take effect."
The accounts show the Club has spent £1m on architects and other professional fees and costs connected with the re-development scheme.
Mr Dunning added: "We spent around £1m on getting our planning permission through and this sum is shown in the capital account. This is money we have had to find, but that figure does not take into account the values of those three plots of land (the Bat and Ball field, practice area and potential hotel plot) which have considerably increased now that planning permission is in place."
Club Chairman, George M Kennedy (pictured) said: "The results are extremely disappointing. However, I promised we would examine our budget for this year more accurately to reflect our business needs. That budget has now been agreed by Committee and should result in an outcome closer to break even."
Kent Members will have their opportunity to discuss the figures at the Club’s Annual General Meeting to be held in the Harris Room at The St Lawrence Ground on Monday 16 March from 7:00pm.