Sunday 18 March 2018

It's rock on as promoter Desmond shares in €11m payout

Outdoor music festivals hit the right note for Festival Republic, owned by Denis Desmond
Outdoor music festivals hit the right note for Festival Republic, owned by Denis Desmond
MCD's Denis Desmond

Gordon Deegan

THE country's most successful concert promoter, Denis Desmond, has added to his fortune by sharing in dividends totalling £9.58m (€11m) from his Festival Republic (FR) business over the past two years.

Electric Picnic is one of six outdoor festivals the company is promoting this year, and new figures show that Mr Desmond's Gaiety Investments shared a further £2.93m in dividends last year from FR. It followed a dividend payout of £6.6m in 2011.

Gaiety Investments has a 49.9pc share in the company, with international concert promoters Live Nation owning the remaining shares.

Almost 600,000 people went to see FR's six events last year, including the Reading and Leeds Music Festivals.

The figures show that the UK-based firm's pre-tax profits in the 12 months to the end of December last year fell by 19pc from £6.25m to £5m. This followed revenues at the firm dipping from £42.2m to £41.4m.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Desmond said he was "very happy" with how the business performed last year. He added that revenues from the Electric Picnic at Stradbally in Co Laois would form part of the results for 2013 "and that will help consolidate the business for this year".

He said the return of Glastonbury had resulted in a spike in ticket sales for FR's events this summer, adding: "There is a feelgood factor around Glastonbury. Two-and-a-half million people watching on TV saw the Rolling Stones perform at the weekend. There is a lot of positivity as a result."

He said 600,000 people would attend open-air MCD events in Ireland this summer, estimating that along with Aiken Promotion's gigs, a total of one million people will attend concerts.

He blamed the introduction of the property tax for a dip in ticket sales in Ireland earlier this year, but added that sales for Oxegen "are doing well".

"We will hit our targets," he said. "The event is scaled down and going in a new direction."

Figures show that FR's accumulated profits last year increased to £20m.

Irish Independent

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