RUAS reports ‘accelerated progress’

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At the Annual Meeting of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society, John Martin, Chairman of the Finance Committee, said that 2018 has been one of accelerated progress for the society, and this was reflected in the financial results.

In the financial year to 31st October 2018 the Society has returned net incoming resources on ordinary activities (before other gains and losses) of £1,391,643. This result is in line with the Society’s financial projections.

The fixed assets of the Group are valued at £26,908,622 which continues to reflect the strong appeal of the King’s Hall Complex within the property market. Additions to the society’s tangible fixed assets included the completion of our second exhibition facility, the Dr. E F Logan Hall, and further improvements to the Eikon Exhibition Centre and Balmoral Park.

Mr Martin noted: “We are now enjoying a new and aspirational period in the history of this Society. Council and finance committee are carefully steering the financial path for the RUAS, so that the objectives set by our membership for future generations will be realised. We have a talented and committed staff, a dedicated Council and a membership who have embraced change for the betterment and long term sustainability of this society.”

Reviewing the Society’s financial activities, the RUAS expensed £3,244,471 on charitable activities, including support costs. These activities generated total revenues of £2,727,568 resulting in a deficit of £516,903. This result demonstrates the need to secure sustainable enabling finance to support the core charitable activities of the Society, which remains the delivery of its agri-events.

Agri-events during the financial year included the 32nd Royal Ulster Winter Fair, in association with Danske Bank, which took place on 14th December 2017. The society celebrated its 150th Balmoral Show during May 2018. The show continued with a four day format thereby increasing the accessibility of the event to the non-farming community and the footprint of the Show expanded to enable an increase in trade exhibitors’ area.

The subsidiary companies of the Society engage in commercial activities solely to generate enabling finance to enable the Society to fulfil its charitable objectives. During the financial year the subsidiaries generated £2,035,129 of net income.

The financial year was a period of increasing momentum for the King’s Hall Exhibition and Conference Centre Limited with the launch of the Dr. E F Logan Hall enhancing the Venue’s offering to the events industry and positioning it as the largest events campus in Northern Ireland. The Company is intent on expansion of the existing business and development of new commercial opportunities at the Eikon Exhibition Centre. Trading projections are in line with expectations and reflect the strategic objectives of the Society.

During the financial year the King’s Hall Harberton Estates Limited, saw the development of Harberton BT9 continue apace. The performance was significantly ahead of the expected levels of completions during the period and it is anticipated that the entire development will be completed well ahead of schedule.

The society established a third trading subsidiary company during October 2017, KH Balmoral Estates Limited. This company is engaged in managing the development agreement granted for the commercial development of the site.