Owner of Electric Picnic music festival records profits of €30m

Denis Desmond is a co-owner in the joint venture with Live Nation
Owner of Electric Picnic music festival records profits of €30m

Gordon Deegan

The owner of the Electric Picnic festival returned to profit in 2021 to record pre-tax profits of £26.56 million (€29.89 million).

Promoter, Denis Desmond is a co-owner in the joint venture with Live Nation and new accounts show LN-Gaiety Holdings Ltd returned to profit in 2021 as revenues increased more than six-fold from £33.97 million to £205.99 million.

The €26.56 million pre-tax profit for 2021 followed the UK based business recording pre-tax losses of £10.4 million in 2020 despite the group receiving a £30.6 million insurance pay-out for Covid-19 event cancellations.

One of the firm’s subsidiaries is the Dublin based firm which operates the Electric Picnic festival, EP Republic Ltd.

Three members of the Desmond family sit on the board of the joint venture firm - Denis Desmond, Caroline Desmond and son Zach Desmond.

Dividend

The directors disclose that the firm in 2021 paid out a dividend of £4.87 million to non-controlling interests and this followed a dividend payout of £2.28 million in 2020.

In a post balance sheet event, the accounts disclose that this year, the group purchased a non-controlling interest in an un-named festival for an initial payment of £6.9 million.

The purchase followed the group purchasing the Edinburgh Corn Exchange for £4.4 million in February 2021.

In 2020, the group purchased Mr Desmond’s MCD Productions for £48.3 million. Mr Desmond and other shareholders in his Gaiety Investments stood to effectively receive around half of the proceeds at £24.15m from the deal as they retain half a shareholding in MCD through their 50-50 venture with LN Gaiety Holdings Ltd.

Covid rules

With the easing of Covid restrictions in 2021, numbers attending LN Gaiety Holding events increased more than threefold to 3.26 million in 2021.

The directors state 1,934 shows were staged in 2021 compared to 824 shows in 2020.

More liberal Covid-19 rules by the UK Government in 2021 meant that the group’s Leeds and Reading outdoor music festivals could go ahead in contrast to here where Covid-19 restrictions resulted in the cancellation of Electric Picnic for the second year running due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The directors state that the majority of the group’s business is in the UK while it has an operating subsidiary in Ireland.

A breakdown of revenues shows that £195.69 million was generated in the UK and £10.29 million in ‘Europe’.

Numbers employed by the group increased from 543 to 609 as staff costs increased from £15.97 million to £17.56 million.

The group received £5.9 million in Government grants that related to the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Arts Council Cultural Recovery Fund and funding from local Councils.

At the end of December 2021, the group had total funds of £33.5 million. The group’s cash funds increased from £106.58 million. to £165.76 million.

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