02 profits rise to the tune of €7.5m on back of sell-out gigs


SELL-OUT concerts by Rihanna, Katy Perry and George Michael at Dublin’s O2 last year contributed a 5 per cent increase in pretax profits to £6 million (€7.45 million) for the arena’s co-owners.

Accounts lodged by UK-based Apollo Leisure Group Ltd show revenues dipped by 2 per cent from £16.5 million to £16.1 million in the 12 months to the end of last December.

The group’s only operating subsidiaries are Dublin-based Amphitheatre Ireland Ltd, which operates the O2, and Live Nation Ireland Holdings Ltd, an investment holding company that receives dividends from Amphitheatre Ireland.

According to figures from music journal Pollstar, 670,846 fans went to the O2 last year, making it the fifth best attended music arena in the world, beating the likes of New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Pollstar said 82 gigs at the venue, operated by Live Nation, grossed $50.7 million (€36.26 million) last year, with the receipts shared between the venue, promoters and artists.

Others who performed there last year include Kylie Minogue, Westlife and Britney Spears and upcoming performers include Paul Simon, Cheryl Cole and Kelly Clarkson.

Pollstar figures for the first quarter of this year show the O2 has slipped to eighth best-attended in the world with 138,419 people going to its concerts.

The O2’s gross receipts don’t include revenue generated from ancillary offerings at its gigs.

The 14,500-capacity O2 in Dublin is jointly owned by Harry Crosbie and Los Angeles-based concert promoter Live Nation, which counts U2, Madonna and the Rolling Stones among its acts.

Accounts lodged with Companies House in the UK show the Live Nation-owned Apollo Leisure Group Ltd increased its operating profit last year by 12 per cent from £5.5 million to £6.1 million.

Total interest receivable was £378,189 with interest payable of £490,210.

The company paid a dividend last year of £2 million following a £12.2 million dividend pay-out in 2010. The pretax profit takes account of noncash depreciation costs of £2.7 million last year.

Numbers employed by the company last year increased from 37 to 45 with 38 in administration and seven in production. Staff costs last year decreased by 8 per cent from £2.1 million to £1.9 million.

At the end of December, the firm had £32.6 million in accumulated profits. Net assets of £54.3 million included £9.5 million in cash.

The figures show that Mr Crosbie owed £418,901 to Amphitheatre Ireland Ltd last December after not owing the firm any money the previous year. Revenues include £958,587 in management charges from Grand Canal Theatre Ltd to Amphitheatre Ireland Ltd for the day-to-day operations of the theatre company.

The average capacity for gigs at the O2 last year was 90 per cent.

Each George Michael concert grossed $1.38 million in receipts, the most lucrative nights at the O2 last year.