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Kent Cricket announce 'encouraging' financial results for 2014 but chief executive Jamie Clifford admits frustration about development delays

By Alex Hoad

Kent have announced “very encouraging” financial figures but chief executive Jamie Clifford admits frustration about delays to development at Canterbury prevents the club from celebrating too much.

Financial results for the year ending October 31, 2014, revealed the club’s EBITDA – earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation – showed a profit of more than £1.25m, the fifth straight year of EBITDA growth.

Once interest, depreciation and the net impact of other items were taken into account, the club posted a post-tax surplus for the year of more than £658,000 – a £750,000 improvement on the previous year’s figures and also received a boost with the value of their net assets rising £630,000 over the year to £6.3m.

Kent County Cricket Club

Kent County Cricket Club

However, the rejection in December of planning permission for the development of retirement properties on the Old Dover Road side of the ground by Canterbury City Council has caused a delay to funds from developers McCarthy & Stone.

Mr Clifford said: “Had it not been for the implications of that, we’d have been in a good place. 

“We’d have been saying, ‘we’re in a really strong position, Beckenham away, land sold, debts repaid, trading moving in the right direction’.

“In reality, that is a deep frustration. We want to reduce our debt, that in turn would reduce interest we pay on that debt, we want to get the Canterbury City Council and chairman’s loan paid down. It is holding us back. That’s why we’re not shouting ‘what a great year’ from the rooftops.”

He added: “While the trading is encouraging, the whole picture has to take into account where we are in realising the value of that asset. There’s an appeal lodged with the planning inspector. That has to be concluded within six months.

Kent chief executive Jamie Clifford. Picture Tony Flashman.

Kent chief executive Jamie Clifford. Picture: Tony Flashman.

“By mid-summer we’ll know where we stand. In the meantime, we’ve deferred the payment on a Canterbury City Council loan. 

“As a consequence, we’re not at a point where we can be jumping up and down. It’s frustrating as if it had gone through, we’d be sitting in a starkly different position.

“If we could just get that sorted, the whole picture starts to become very encouraging for the club. We’ve got a plan, we knew what we were delivering at various points but this has been a hiccup.”

“We are all very encouraged that the club can again present continued improvement in our trading results..." - Jamie Clifford, Kent County Cricket Club

Mr Clifford added: “We are all very encouraged that the club can again present continued improvement in our trading results.

“This continued improvement in a positive direction is the result of a comprehensive and clear plan.”

The commercial base of the club has seen a nearly fivefold increase in returns – £423,000 –since 2010, however chairman George Kennedy warned: “The results on paper look very good indeed but the key to any business is cashflow coming through and we need at least another year of consolidating and battening down the hatches.

“The club has got to be fit for purpose. My first year as chairman I inherited a situation with losses of over £600,000 – if you get down to the trading level this year, we made a profit of over £600,000 – that’s a 100% turnaround. 

“That’s not been easy. If we keep it on that sort of level, I think cash will eventually come through. We’re going in the right direction.”

Club members will receive copies of the financial accounts and report in the coming week with the club’s annual meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 14.

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