Members told RUAS income hit £5.4 million in 2017

The society behind Northern Ireland’s biggest agricultural show has seen its income reach almost £5.4 million (€6.1 million) in 2017.

At today’s annual meeting of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS), John Martin – chairman of the finance committee – told members 2017 had been a year of “sustained progress” for the society.

In the financial year ending October 31, 2017, RUAS returned net incoming resources of £5,360,746.

It compares with £2.9 million (€3.3 million) in 2015 and a deficit of £283,500 (€319,000) in 2014.

£25 million in assets

The sum – which includes the revaluation of the commercial site at the King’s Hall Complex – is in line with the society’s financial projections.

The fixed assets of the group are currently valued at more than £25.3 million (€28.5 million).

Members were told the value reflects the “strong appeal” of the King’s Hall Complex to developers – due in part to the investment made by the RUAS prior to bringing the site to market.

The additions to the society’s tangible fixed assets during the year amounted to £677,255 (€762,000).

The future

Future development at Balmoral Park will be phased in line with the capital receipts from the residential development at the King’s Hall Complex.

Reviewing the society’s financial activities, RUAS spent £2.9 million (€2.6 million) on charitable activities, including support costs.

These activities generated total revenues of £2.5 million (€2.8 million), resulting in a net outgoing resource of £392,544 (€441,000 million).

This result incorporates the cost-saving and efficiency measures implemented by the society’s committees, which will continue to be applied to all future charitable activities.

However, it underpins the need to secure enabling finance to support the core charitable activities of the society, which remains the delivery of its agricultural events.

‘Four days a great success’

Also of note was that the society extended the duration of the Balmoral Show to four days, which was hailed as a “great success”, with significantly increased attendance both from the urban and rural communities.

During the financial year, the society’s trading subsidiary King’s Hall Exhibition and Conference Centre Ltd hosted a diverse portfolio of events – generating enabling finance for the society’s charitable activities.

King’s Hall Harberton Estates Ltd, generated capital funds which will enable the RUAS to implement the next phase of development at Balmoral Park.

The society established a third trading subsidiary company during October 2017, KH Balmoral Estates Ltd which will manage the commercial development of the King’s Hall and associated lands.

Martin said: “We are now enjoying a new and aspirational period in the history of this great 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.”