A nice big profit

Formula One Administration has revealed its financial results for 2004 and, thanks to a one-off payment of $93m from the Interpublic Group to end a contract to promote the British Grand Prix, the company's profits in soared to $447m on a turnover of $705m. This is much higher than the figures in 2003 when the company made $215m and a long way clear of the 2002 profit of $126.5m. In the course of the year the company slashed its debt from $468m to just $121m. The returns of Formula One Management, an FOA subsidiary, revealed that the company lost more than $2m that year on its now-defunct Formula One magazine.

The figures suggest that in 2005 the company will have been able to clear the rest of its debt, which relates to a bond issue and will probably by now be in a position to begin acquisitions under its new, but yet to be legally-confirmed CVC Capital Partners. The word is that a deal is now close with Allsport Management, a Swiss firm owned by entrepreneur Patrick McNally. We hear that deal is probably worth in the region of $350m to McNally, who derives his income from exploiting commercial rights in F1 which the Formula One group sub-contracts to him. The value of the company is very difficult to assess because of the complicated nature of the contracts between Allsport and the different race promoters around the world but is thought that McNally has revenues of around $300m a year from trackside signage, VIP hospitality, title sponsorships and official supplier schemes. He is believed to pay around $50m a year to FOA but the profits of the company are hard to ascertain as it is not clear how much it costs to pay for Allsport's operations. Whatever the case, the purchases of the business will increase FOA revenues considerably and will consolidate F1's rights earnings in one company.

This year's profit figures dwarf the payment made to the FIA in 2000 to acquire the commercial rights of the sport until 2110, which amounted to just $360m.

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