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Arena Events Group

Arena Events Group shares chopped by a quarter as losses widen

The group has organised events including the Chelsea Flower Show, the Ryder Cup and the Cheltenham Festival

Arena Events Group - Arena Events Group shares chopped by a quarter as losses widen
A display at the Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show organiser Arena Events Group PLC (LON:ARE) saw its shares wilt on Tuesday after reporting a wider loss in its interims.

The AIM-listed group, which has also organised the Ryder Cup and the Cheltenham Festival, reported a pre-tax loss of £2.2mln in the six months ended 30 June, wider than a £200,000 loss a year ago, despite revenues rising to £70.1mln from £54.9mln.

The expanded losses were blamed mostly on increased administrative expenses as a result of additional overheads from acquired business, which had risen to £20.6mln from £16.4mln.

The interim dividend was also cut in half to 0.25p per share from 0.5p in 2018.

To add to the company’s woes, it also said its chief financial officer, Piers Wilson, had decided to leave the group to pursue other opportunities.

Wilson would stay on as CFO for the next month as the firm transitioned to his successor, Steve Trowbridge, the former CFO of Evans Cycles, which was bought last year by Sports Direct International Plc (LON:SPD).

Greg Lawless, Arena’s chief executive, said that despite “a number of challenges”, the company’s first half had been satisfactory, adding that the group’s results had “historically been second half weighted and the profile for 2019 will be further exaggerated following last year's acquisitions and a higher proportion of secured and identified jobs now phasing into the last quarter of the year.”

As a result, Lawless said the company would be changing its year-end to March, meaning the current financial year would run for 15 months.

The attempted reassurance did little to assuage investors as the shares sank 26% to 20.5p in lunchtime trading.

Quick facts: Arena Events Group

Price: £0.19

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £29.4 m
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