Craig Hutchison’s SEN has posted a $9.2m loss as the company racks up debt buying sports teams around the nation, the Herald Sun reports.
The loss comes as financial documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission state that the Commonwealth Bank, with whom SEN have taken out a $28.7m line of credit, is entitled to recover “immediate settlement” of the loan.
The reports state that the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation from its operations was $4.7m, making the financial year loss approximately double the gross earnings.
Sports Entertainment Group’s preliminary final report states that the company has just over $1 million available in the line of credit, but had to ask for “covenant relief” from the bank in the June quarter.
Covenant relief is when a lender temporarily forgives a borrower’s breach of loan terms.
“The covenant relief confirmed that the bank did not exercise its right to request immediate settlement of the liability,” the report said.
The Herald Sun reported that shares in the company are currently trading around 20 cents, half the price compared to when Hutchison took over the company in January 2018.
Despite a global pandemic tanking stock markets in the interim, SEN’s share price has fallen further since the country emerged from lockdown, with shares sitting at approximately 25 cents at the conclusion of pandemic restrictions.
A spokesman for Sports Entertainment Network and Hutchison insisted the financial situation was actually far more positive than the numbers showed in a statement to news.com.au.
“While the headline $9.2 million loss after tax was quoted (in the Herald Sun report), this included a number of accounting adjustments, including impairments and non-recurring abnormal costs. Excluding these adjustments the Group made an underlying EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) profit of $4.8 million,” the SEN statement read.
“As an overall summary, within the reporting period our business completed its expansion of its national radio footprint, which contributed to significant upfront operational costs. With this footprint of owned stations complete, this cost base has now normalised.
“We continue to have a close working relationship with our financier who have been supportive of our growth journey to date and remain supportive of our long-term strategy.
“Rest assured, there is no impact to our operations.”
SEN has made a number of significant investments since being taken over by Sports Entertainment Group.
The company expanded into New Zealand under the SENZ brand, and purchased the New Zealand National Basketball League team the Otago Nuggets in November 2021 – the SENZ division was the primary contributor to the loss, ending the financial year $5.5m in the red.
The company formerly held a 20 per cent stake in Victorian NBL franchise Melbourne United, which was sold off to finance the purchase of the Perth Wildcats.
Hutchison also bought out Brisbane’s 4KQ radio network to rebrand as SENQ, bringing on names such as former Australian Test cricketers Ian Healy and Matthew Hayden as part of the operation.