RHASS releases annual results against backdrop of an uncertain future

Our client the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has reported its results to the year 30th November 2019.

Highlights include:

·       £4.15 million invested in the Royal Highland Centre including the completion of the £5.4 million events and members’ facility

·       9% increase in awards and bursaries awarded totalling £340,000 (£312,000 2018)

·       £9.01 million (2018: £9.60 million) income

·       Net assets down 2.4% to £20.8 million (2018: £21.3 million)

·       1.3 % increase in revenue generated by The Royal Highland Show, delivering a sixth consecutive record-breaking year, £4.82 million (2017: £4.76million)

·       Trading income, generated by RHASS’ wholly owned subsidiary, Highland Centre Ltd, increased 30% on 2018 to £2.15million

·       Net Operating deficit £(713,000) (2018: £618,000 surplus)

·       £636,000 generated through membership, 8% increase on 2018

Alan Laidlaw, RHASS Chief Executive commented: “We have made tremendous progress during the year as demonstrated by the completion on time and on budget of our new events and membership space, the successful staging of yet another record breaking Royal Highland Show and steady growth in our events business, the Royal Highland Centre.

“I am also pleased to report that we have increased our awards and grants by 9% and continued to support numerous charities including RHET, RSABI and SAYFC.

“While a positive year delivering budgeted results, we cannot shy away from the fact that we are facing a very uncertain future with challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic.  We are facing significant gaps in our income due to the cancellation of the 2020 Royal Highland Show and the postponement of almost 200 events at the Royal Highland Centre.  It will be sometime before we will see mass gatherings taking place again so this reduction in income is likely to be sustained well into next year.  This undoubtedly puts the charity under significant financial strain and while we are working on ways to mitigate this, it is a large gap to fill.

“While we have been successful in securing financial arrangements with our bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, it would be naïve to think that we, along with many other organisations, will not come out unscathed as a result of the pandemic.

“We have made swift decisions to shore up the Society, however we have many more challenges to address to ensure the  long term sustainability of the charity.”

Costs reducing measures include:

  • Changes to working practices, including the majority of staff currently on furlough running with a skeleton team while protecting the site assets and our ability to respond to event needs.
  • Seeking support from Government through the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund and other routes that reflect the economic value of the Royal Highland Centre and RHASS.
  • Working collaboratively with event organisers and industry groups to ensure that new ways of delivering events and greater focus the value of the events industry is developed and maintained.
  • Attracting the Drive in at Ingliston series throughout August and July in partnership with LiveNation.

RHASS Chairman, Bill Gray, said: “There is no doubt that RHASS was on a solid financial position achieved by the robust management of our assets.  However, the pandemic could not come at a worse time as we were about to launch our new events space, host the Royal Highland Show – the Society’s biggest income generator – and enter into our busiest time for our events business, the Royal Highland Centre.

“Overnight we saw over £6 million wiped from our income sheet and this will take time, hard work and support from the industry to bounce back from.  We are about to embark on a major fundraising drive which will hopefully give us the lifeline we need sustain the charity.”

You can download the full report below.

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