Pretax profits at Denis Desmond’s concert promoter down 19%

AMG paid dividend of £35m in 2018 including £9.8m dividend for Gaiety Investments

Pretax profits at a UK-based music venue operator co-owned by concert promoter Denis Desmond last year declined 19 per cent to £6.34 million (€7.35 million).

Mr Desmond and Caroline Downey's Gaiety Investments operate Academy Music Group (AMG) Ltd in a joint venture with music giants Live Nation. Accounts show it recorded the drop in profits despite revenues increasing 7 per cent from £48.39 million to £51.69 million.

The Live Nation-controlled AMG is the leading owner and operator of live music venues in the UK, including the Shepherd's Bush Empire 02 and Brixton Academy 02.

Last year AMG staged 3,179 shows, and attendance numbers increased 1.6 per cent to 2.81 million.

AMG last year paid a dividend of £35 million and this translates to a £9.8 million dividend for Mr Desmond’s and Ms Downey’s Dublin-based Gaiety Investments.

The dividend declared in March 2018 was the first large one declared since 2015. Between 2011 and 2015, AMG paid out £40.44 million in dividends to shareholders.

Spend per head

The spend per head by customers increased from £8.03 to £8.36.

The number of shows dropped marginally “after the company withdrew some underperforming weekly clubs from the estate and the in-house promotion team placed a greater emphasis on quality versus quantity of bookings”.

The directors state that these measures resulted in increased admissions and an increase in average show profit from £5,929 to £6,688.

Numbers employed by the business last year increased from 335 to 354, with staff costs increasing from £9 million to £9.6 million.

Mr Desmond’s Irish MCD business is not required to file annual accounts as it has unlimited status.

Last year gigs by U2, Michael Bublé and Taylor Swift helped maintain MCD's top global 10 ranking among promoters with 1.933 million fans attending MCD gigs here.