Events solutions business Arena Group has secured a £15.6m (€17.3m/$21m) support loan from HSBC UK as it looks to navigate the financial problems posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arena Group received the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan (CBILS) to provide additional financial security to the business during 2020 and throughout 2021.
Arena Group’s major events portfolio includes the Wimbledon Championships tennis grand slam, the London Marathon and the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia, which staged the Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr. fight in December 2019.
With the sporting calendar having been decimated by COVID-19 last year, Arena Events has adapted its business offering by building field hospitals and drive-through testing centres in the UK, US, the Middle East and Africa.
Greg Lawless, Arena Group chief executive, said: “We were all set to deliver temporary facilities for the Tokyo Olympics and the Ryder Cup in the US in addition to our regular recurring work with many of the UK’s premier sporting events last year, so needless to say 2020 wasn’t the year that the business expected, as the Olympics and countless other national and global events were cancelled or postponed.
“However, we moved quickly to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 by reducing our operational cost base and focusing our attention on non-event sources of income. We couldn’t have done this without the support of HSBC UK, and their backing has gone a long way in helping us navigate this unpredictable pandemic.”
Liz Anderton, HSBC UK West End corporate banking director, added: “The events industry has undoubtedly been one of the sectors to be hardest hit by the pandemic, so we’re pleased to have been able to support Arena Events Group as the company continues to make significant shifts in its day-to-day operations to help it through this period of uncertainty.”
In June last year, Arena Group announced the merger of its UK & Europe and Middle East & Asia divisions. The company said Arena EMEA would allow its MEA division’s “reputation for innovation and delivery of design-led solutions” to be introduced into the UK market.
Last week, Arsenal joined Premier League rival Tottenham Hotspur in taking out a loan through the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).
Arsenal said it had met the criteria set by the Bank of England for the CCFF and the club will take out a short-term £120m loan through this facility to partially assist in managing the impact of the revenue losses attributable to the pandemic.
Tottenham secured a £175m loan from the Bank of England last June after conceding that COVID-19 may lead to it registering a revenue loss of more than £200m for the period ending June 2021.