RUAS reports on ‘a very encouraging’ financial year

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Members of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) have been told that the organisation posted a very positive set of accounts for the year ending October 31, 2018.

Speaking at the recent annual meeting, John Martin, chair of the RUAS finance committee, said that the society is now entering a new and inspirational period in its history.

He explained: “The 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.”

The last financial year saw the society return 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 its second exhibition facility, the Dr E F Logan Hall, and further improvements to the Eikon Exhibition Centre and Balmoral Park.

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 December 14, 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. In addition, 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 these subsidiaries generated £2,035,129 of net income.

The last 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.

Meanwhile, at the annual meeting of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society held at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park, on Friday 8th March 2019, the following 24 members were declared elected as members of the Council for a period of three years:

James Allen; Mervyn Acheson; Crosby Cleland; Harold Dickey; Walter Hoy; Brian Hunter; William Jones; Brendan Kelly; Gerard Kelly; Mark Logan; Ian Mark; John Martin; Duke McCartney; Mrs Sara McCracken; William McElroy; James Morrison; Howard McIlwaine; Miss Roberta McMullan; Mrs Myrtle Peak; Jason Rankin; Wilbert Rankin; Sam Smyth; Jay Warden; Mrs Leanne Workman.