Live Nation tie-up delivers pay day to Desmond's Gaiety
Denis Desmond's Gaiety Investments shared in a dividend payout of £10.29m (€11.59m) from its UK-based joint venture with concert giant Live Nation last year.
New accounts filed by LN-Gaiety Holdings Ltd (LNGH) show that the business made the dividend payout as the firm recorded a pre-tax loss of £2.2m, in spite of revenues increasing.
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Mr Desmond's Gaiety Investments co-owns the business with the controlling party, US-based tour giant Live Nation. Revenues at LNGH last year increased by 7pc to £215.8m.
In an interview, Mr Desmond confirmed that the LNGH revenues for 2018 included the income from last year's Electric Picnic at Stradbally in Co Laois, which featured acts such as Dua Lipa and Kendrick Lamar.
Mr Desmond said he was very much "hands on" in the operation of LNGH in the UK, spending three days in Britain every week. The total number of people to attend LNGH events last year increased by 3.2pc to 5.5 million.
Mr Desmond said the UK business was boosted by the sale of 110,000 weekend tickets for its Reading Festival, and 80,000 weekend tickets for its Leeds Festival.
LN-Gaiety Holdings last year recorded a pre-tax loss of £2.2m, and the directors' report stated that this was mainly due to a non-cash exceptional cost of £12.4m, relating to a goodwill impairment.
Mr Desmond said MCD will sell around 1.8 million tickets in Ireland this year.
He said: "That number of tickets in the context of the size of Ireland is a big number.
"It has been a very successful year."
Mr Desmond said there was "a lot in the pipeline" in terms of concerts here for next year, but Brexit was creating uncertainty.
He said: "It is from a logistical point of view, where you are talking about tours involving moving 25 to 30 trucks, and 150 people of different nationalities."