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DJ Newbury Racecourse Plc AGM Statement

5th June 2019 
                            NEWBURY RACECOURSE PLC 
                      ("the Racecourse" or "the Company") 
                                 AGM Statement 
At the Annual General Meeting to be held at Newbury Racecourse today, the 
Chairman, Dominic Burke, will make the following statement: 
As stated in the latest Annual Financial Statements, the financial results for 
2018 demonstrated growth in a number of key areas of the business. Total 
turnover grew by 8% to GBP19.29m in 2018 and operating profits (excluding 
exceptional profits) of GBP0.84m, were a 71% increase on the prior year. We saw 
improvements in trading performance across a number of areas of the business, 
including like for like growth in racing revenues of 7%, another excellent year 
for the Rocking Horse Nursery with growth in revenues of 10% and revenue from 
The Lodge hotel operation increasing by 20%. We also saw good recovery in the 
Conference and Events business with turnover up 22%. 
Current trading 
Our 2018/19 jump season provided us with many memorable performances including 
Colin Tizzard's first and second in the Ladbrokes Trophy with Sizing Tennessee 
and Elegant Escape. The aptly named, Champ, stole the show when winning the 
Grade 1 Betway Challow Hurdle at the end of December in the colours of JP 
McManus and going onto win at Aintree's meeting. February's Betfair Saturday 
was regrettably abandoned as a result of the equine influenza outbreak, but was 
an insured fixture so the financial loss was largely mitigated. We were 
delighted to host the retiring Noel Fehily at our finale meeting at the end of 
March which saw most of Lambourn descend on Newbury to wish him well. The 2019 
flat season got underway with Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend and we saw 
competitive renewals of both the Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes won by the 
Marcus Tregoning trained, Mohaather. Always a fascinating meeting, we hope to 
see many of the winners become stars of the future. Most recently, we hosted 
the GBP750,000 Al Shaqab Lockinge Day, which was attended by over 11,200 
racegoers, a 5% increase on last year. For the first time the meeting 
incorporated Ladies Day, which was positively received. A fantastic card, with 
a wide open Lockinge, made for competitive viewing, with the Sir Michael Stoute 
trained, Mustashry, landing the spoils and narrowly beating the wonderful 
Laurens. Crystal Ocean's back to back victories in the Al Rayyan and a 
fascinating two-year-old race which featured a first runner for US trainer 
Wesley Ward at the track. Betting turnover was up on the day and strong viewing 
figures of over 700,000 on ITV's main channel is encouraging to see. 
Trading prospects for the rest of 2019 look satisfactory to date. We are seeing 
very strong sales for our two confirmed Party in the Paddock events, Tom Jones 
in July and Madness in August. Our Conference and Events business has had a 
positive first quarter with business on the books up significantly on the prior 
year and growth across a number of key markets. 
Our on-site hotel, The Lodge, is continuing to deliver year on year growth in 
occupancy levels, with year to date revenues currently 15% ahead of the same 
time last year. 
The Rocking Horse Nursery continues to trade very well. We have seen 
significant growth in this part of the business for the last 3 years, but we do 
expect this growth to steady as the facility is now close to its operational 
There are, however, trading headwinds to come, in particular the fallout from 
the FOBT situation and the impact of this on the UK betting landscape. The 
implications for the horse racing industry and for our business specifically, 
remain difficult to predict at this time, but it is very likely to have a 
material adverse impact on future contributions to prize money funding from the 
Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) and the Company's revenues from media 
rights. In spite of this, we intend to maintain our total prizemoney for 2019 
at GBP5 million but, like many other racecourses, we will need to manage 
carefully our future prizemoney commitments, in light of this situation and the 
recent HBLB announcement. 
The Redevelopment 
The re?modelling of the main parade ring and improvements to the customer areas 
behind the stands are now completed and we are delighted with the results and 
the positive feedback from patrons. The phased refurbishment of the Berkshire 
Stand and improvements to the wider infrastructure have continued and have 
significantly enhanced the visitor experience which will as a consequence help 
us to deliver improved financial returns in the future. Upgrading of the Annual 
Members' facilities will shortly be underway, including the refurbishment of 
the Carnarvon Room in the Berkshire Stand and the works to the Wine Cellar in 
the Hampshire Stand. 
Having obtained planning consent in 2017 for a full re?development of the Pall 
Mall building, the Board revisited the strategy for this facility and the 
decision was taken to proceed with a reduced scheme, encompassing the Royal Box 
building only. This scheme will both restore the Royal Box, being our most 
prestigious facility, to its former glory and will also provide enhanced 
access, viewing and public facilities. Works to the Royal Box are expected to 
commence later this year. 
The David Wilson Homes residential development is now more than halfway 
through, with c.930 homes out of the total 1,495 now built. Demand for new 
homes on the site remains positive and sales are broadly in line with 
expectations. The final phase to the east of the site is well underway, 
comprising a 750 unit mix of traditional homes and apartments and it is 
expected to take until late 2021 to complete. 
Board changes 
We were deeply saddened by the death of one of our long standing non-executive 
directors, Laurie Todd, in August of last year. Laurie contributed a huge 
amount, in his 10 years on the board at Newbury, not least as Chair of the 
Audit Committee and he is sadly missed. We are pleased that Bryan Burrough has 
accepted our invitation to join the board as non-executive director and his 
experience means he is well placed to assume the role of chair of the Audit 
Committee, as Laurie's successor. 
We would also like to pay thanks to Brian Stewart-Brown who, after 20 years on 
the board, formally stands down today as non-executive director. Brian joined 
the board in 1999 and his significant commercial and racing expertise has been 
instrumental in driving forward the board's strategy for growth and 
profitability - we thank him for his contribution and commitment to Newbury 
As previously stated, given the additional investment in the racecourse and the 
current uncertainty around the financial impact of the FOBT situation, the 
Board have decided that any return to paying dividends or returning capital to 
shareholders is not now anticipated to occur before 2022 at the earliest, 
following repayment of the Compton Beauchamp Estates loan and the final 
longstop date in the residential property development contract between the 
Company and David Wilson Homes. 
Our redevelopment will enable us to continue growing our well?diversified 
business activities and maximise the returns from our investments. 
We are looking forward to an exciting summer of racing and the remainder of 
what is set to be another busy year for Newbury Racecourse. 
For further information please contact: 
Newbury Racecourse plc             Tel: 01635 40015 
Julian Thick, Chief Executive 
Harriet Collins, Marcomms & Sponsorship Director 
Hudson Sandler                     Tel: 020 7796 4133 
Charlie Jack 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 05, 2019 07:30 ET (11:30 GMT)