CEO Darbon upbeat about future as Saints announce annual financial results

Saints CEO Mark Darbon
Saints CEO Mark Darbon

CEO Mark Darbon has reflected on a season of 'significant progress' despite Saints posting a loss for the third year in a row.

The underlining loss before tax for the 13-month period ending June 30, 2019 was £2.7m, which was a £0.1m improvement on the previous 12 months.

A rise in operating costs contributed to that, increasing by 5.7 per cent, due, in part, to a higher spend on marquee players and other staff costs.

Total income from season ticket holders and gate receipts was up by 15 per cent, with the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final and final at the Gardens, plus Rob Horne's testimonial at Twickenham, playing a big part in that.

Overall turnover increased by 7.8 per cent, which equates to £1.3m.

And Darbon, who has overseen a plethora of positive changes since arriving in 2017, is upbeat about what the future holds at Franklin's Gardens.

“As you will see from the report and accounts, we are reporting a loss for the third year in succession,” said Darbon.

“While it is important to recognise the club is still operating in a very difficult financial environment – a challenge that faces all Premiership clubs – we believe last season represented significant progress towards securing a sustainable financial future.

“The agreement with private equity firm CVC Capital Partners to purchase a minority shareholding in the league is a very positive development for the club.

"Not only does the deal give Saints a healthy balance sheet, but also allows us to invest, selectively, in the infrastructure at Franklin’s Gardens.

“I am also happy to report that the club continues to show positive financial growth and that revenue and profits are up against last year with most revenue streams growing year-on-year.

“On the field, our new director of rugby, Chris Boyd, made a significant impact from the moment he arrived last summer.

"A fourth-place finish in the Gallagher Premiership and triumph over Saracens in the Premiership Rugby Cup final represented an excellent start to his tenure.”

Saints, and the other 12 PRL clubs, have received a cash inflow of £12.8m as a result of the CVC investment.

And although that fresh investment has come as a big boost for all, Saints chairman John White says now is not the time to sit back and relax.

"It is important to recognise that the club is still operating in a very difficult financial environment; a challenge that is not unique to Saints but faces all of the Premiership clubs," White said.

"The investment from CVC of course helps and is very welcome, but the club cannot rest on its laurels.

"We must continue to work hard to generate income and build a sustainable model.

"I am happy to report that the club continues to show positive financial growth.

"Revenue and profit are up against last year with most revenue streams growing year-on-year.

"In particular, our non-rugby events department drove significant growth."