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ENO halves reserves to pay for £2.2m deficit

16 January 2013, London, UK

Original report by Alex Stevens for Classical Music

English National Opera has filed its accounts for 2011/12, revealing an overall loss of £2.2m. This compares with losses of £55,000 in 2010/11 and £160,000 in 2009/10.

A statement from ENO said that the deficit would be covered by the company’s reserves, which now stand at less than £2.2m – down from more than £4.5m a year ago. A similar trading deficit in 2012/13 would therefore leave the company needing to borrow or requiring external investment in order to balance its books.

The results ‘reflect the cut in Arts Council England funding in 2012 and the impact of a very difficult economic environment on ticket sales, in a period of award-winning work, increased fundraising and strong international partnership contribution’, said a statement.

‘In this challenging financial environment we are also looking at the balance of work that we offer to our audiences and the ticket prices we charge.’

Despite year-on-year ticket sales falling by £1.2m, combined with a significant reduction in the company's grant from ACE (down by £1.3m to £17.2m), operational revenues actually increased by £200,000 in 2011/12.

ENO recently engaged brand agency Capitalize to develop sponsorship and corporate opportunities, including the possibility of selling naming rights to the Coliseum, the company’s home since 1968.

Compared with the Royal Opera House, situated a mile away in Covent Garden, ENO has seen year-on-year growth of 30% in sponsorship and donations, which increased from £2.7m to £3.5m last year, but still lags behind the Opera House, which brought in £18.4m in 2010/11.

Meanwhile, a report in the Guardian has revealed that ACE is conducting a review into the support it provides for opera and ballet.


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