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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
Arena's profits dampened by rain
Worcester race course under water
The going is currently extremely wet at Worcester
Racecourse operator Arena Leisure has issued a profit warning after the recent wet weather hit attendances.

Arena - which runs seven UK racecourses - blamed the "exceptional and protracted bad weather" since April for dampening the enthusiasm of race goers.

The recent rainfall has left two of its courses - Southwell in Nottinghamshire and Worcester - completely under water.

Arena added that takings had also been hit by a slowdown in consumer spending following recent interest rate rises.

Lingfield Park

The company said that it was taking steps to boost attendances in the second half of the year, with new ticket pricing strategies being introduced at Lingfield Park and Wolverhampton.

However, Arena admitted it did not expect the revenue lost during the first half of the year to be recouped. As a result it is forecasting full-year profits of about 6m - a 6.5% rise on the previous year but below analysts' forecasts.

Arena's shares sank after the profit warning, standing 11.25p lower, or 16%, at 58p in early morning trade.

"The appalling weather conditions that have been experienced throughout most of May and June have not only depressed recent attendances, but also removed the opportunity to recover some of the shortfalls experienced in the early part of the year," said chief executive Mark Elliott.

"Worcester is currently flooded and both our turf and all-weather tracks at Southwell Racecourse are flooded for the first time in their history.

"In addition, it would appear that the interest rate rises that have occurred over the last 10-months, with the potential for more in the near future, have caused a tightening in certain sections of consumer spending."

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