DCSIMG

Goals tackles debt and eyes growth

Goals Soccer Centres Plc are handling their debts and looking to expand in the future. Picture: contributed

Goals Soccer Centres Plc are handling their debts and looking to expand in the future. Picture: contributed

  • by GARETH MACKIE
 

GOALS Soccer Centres, the five-a-side football pitch operator, is tipped to unveil plans for a new wave of expansion this week as it continues to tackle its debt pile.

The East Kilbride-based firm put its growth strategy on ice in 2012 to focus on boosting the return on capital from its existing sites, which comprise 43 centres across the UK and one in Los Angeles.

Analysts are forecasting the company, headed by chief ­executive Keith Rogers, will deliver an annual pre-tax profit of about £9.8 million tomorrow, up from £9.5m in 2012.

Goals saw a £73.1m takeover bid from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan collapse in 2012 despite the backing of management. The firm also caught the eye of Patron Capital, the private equity outfit behind Paisley-based rival Powerleague, but no bid was forthcoming.

In a bid to cut development costs, Goals has developed a “modular build” system that is cheaper and quicker than traditional construction techniques. A typical centre has between nine and 14 floodlit five-a-side pitches, while the majority also have one or two seven-a-side facilities, plus parking for about 100 cars.

The company is understood to be looking for opportunities to boost its presence along the west coast of America, where the profile of football has been lifted by David Beckham’s spell with LA Galaxy.

Wayne Brown, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said the firm’s site in LA is its most profitable, delivering annual underlying earnings of up to £600,000. The overall business has benefited from a rise in corporate events and birthday parties, and a trading update in January showed that debts had fallen to £46m, down from £54m in June.

Brown added: “With deleveraging on track, we are increasingly confident the group should return to a more dynamic growth strategy over the medium term.

“The group is starting to see meaningful benefits from the organisational and operational changes made over the last year and, whilst many of these initiatives only started in the second half, they have been clear drivers behind an improving sales performance.”

Full-year revenues are predicted to have grown to £34m, from £32.5m in 2012. Although Goals saw takings at its bars fall during the first six months of the year as customers cut back on after-games drinks, Brown believes the decline slowed during the second half.

Goals is chaired by former Arsenal chief executive Keith Edelman, who took the helm last year when Sir Rodney Walker retired after a decade in the post. Walker, who remains as honorary president of the firm, has also chaired the World Snooker Association and the UK Sports Council.

Shareholders are in line for a full-year dividend of 2p a share, up on the previous year’s 1.85p. GOALS Soccer Centres, the five-a-side football pitch operator, is tipped to unveil plans for a new wave of expansion this week as it continues to tackle its debt pile.

The East Kilbride-based firm put its growth strategy on ice in 2012 to focus on boosting the return on capital from its existing sites, which comprise 43 centres across the UK and one in Los Angeles.

Analysts are forecasting the company, headed by chief ­executive Keith Rogers, will deliver an annual pre-tax profit of about £9.8 million tomorrow, up from £9.5m in 2012.

Goals saw a £73.1m takeover bid from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan collapse in 2012 despite the backing of management. The firm also caught the eye of Patron Capital, the private equity outfit behind Paisley-based rival Powerleague, but no bid was forthcoming.

In a bid to cut development costs, Goals has developed a “modular build” system that is cheaper and quicker than traditional construction techniques. A typical centre has between nine and 14 floodlit five-a-side pitches, while the majority also have one or two seven-a-side facilities, plus parking for about 100 cars.

The company is understood to be looking for opportunities to boost its presence along the west coast of America, where the profile of football has been lifted by David Beckham’s spell with LA Galaxy.

Wayne Brown, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said the firm’s site in LA is its most profitable, delivering annual underlying earnings of up to £600,000. The overall business has benefited from a rise in corporate events and birthday parties, and a trading update in January showed that debts had fallen to £46m, down from £54m in June.

Brown added: “With deleveraging on track, we are increasingly confident the group should return to a more dynamic growth strategy over the medium term.

“The group is starting to see meaningful benefits from the organisational and operational changes made over the last year and, whilst many of these initiatives only started in the second half, they have been clear drivers behind an improving sales performance.”

Full-year revenues are predicted to have grown to £34m, from £32.5m in 2012. Although Goals saw takings at its bars fall during the first six months of the year as customers cut back on after-games drinks, Brown believes the decline slowed during the second half.

Goals is chaired by former Arsenal chief executive Keith Edelman, who took the helm last year when Sir Rodney Walker retired after a decade in the post. Walker, who remains as honorary president of the firm, has also chaired the World Snooker Association and the UK Sports Council.

Shareholders are in line for a full-year dividend of 2p a share, up on the previous year’s 1.85p.

 

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