Highlights of the Clubhaus results to 30 June 2000 included turnover up 32% to £19 million (1999: £14.4million) a like for like increase of 17%, gross profit up to £11.6 million (1999: £8.6 million), at a gross margin of 61% (1999: 60%) and operating profit increased by 24% to £5.1 million (1999: £4.1 million).
“The first half of 2000 has seen sustained growth in the underlying business combined with exciting and successful developments,” commented managing director, Charlie Parker. “The profile of the income stream has moved more towards greater membership subscriptions, with less reliance on daily usage, which is subject to seasonal fluctuations. This income stream better reflects the ‘Country Club’ concept which the Group is rolling out. In 2000 we have already opened Country Clubs at Nizels, Mapledurham and Meyrick Park and The Tytherington has undergone a major expansion of its facilities. Developments are planned at four further clubs including our largest project to date, The Warwickshire. The continued growth in the operating performance of the Group has gone hand in hand with the increased borrowings to fund the development, resulting in a higher financing charge.”
“Our move towards a more robust broad based leisure offering has allowed the Group to perform ahead of target,” said Robert Bourne, chairman. “Extremely good membership sales have driven the results through the second quarter of 2000 helped by the opening of the new Country Clubs and an underlying increase in the number of golf members.
“Membership sales have continued to move forward strongly since the half year, and the opening of Meyrick Park has confirmed the popularity of the Country Club concept. The Group must now embark on the second round of development and exploit the acquisition opportunities that exist.
“The Group strategy continues to be to increase the number of Country Clubs owned and operated by the Group both in the UK and Europe through the development and acquisition of facilities. We have identified several opportunities to acquire clubs that either fit the Country Club concept or have development potential. We believe that growth by acquisition is achievable in a market place where competition is limited. Alongside this we are continually trying to improve our operational efficiency and realise the opportunities that we believe exist within our membership base. Finally, the disposal of non-operational assets will continue over the coming years.”
The Group expensed £9.3 million on various capital projects including approximately £8.3m million on the development of the Country Clubs. Further capital expenditure is expected in the second half focused primarily on the continued roll out of the Country Clubs. Given the capital investment programme no interim dividend is proposed.
Administrative expenses before exceptional items increased to £6.5 million, compared to £4.5 million for the same period last year, an increase of 44%. Administrative expenses represent 34% of turnover, compared to 31% last year, an increase due to the increased size of the Group’s operations. From 25 September 2000 the head office will be re-located from London SW3 to Nizels Golf and Country Club in Kent. This will result in significant overhead savings for the Group.