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SBD Global/March 28, 2013/Finance

New Zealand Rugby Union Announces Healthy Financial Turnaround

The New Zealand Rugby Union has announced a NZ$3.2M ($2.6M) operating profit for '12 -- its first since '08 -- "and is already planning for another Rugby World Cup win" in '15, according to William Mace of FAIRFAX NZ NEWS. NZRU CEO Steve Tew said that rugby's governing organization "had budgeted to break even" after posting an operating loss of NZ$3.1M last year, but last month he signaled there would be a surplus. CFO Jannine Mountford said that the NZRU's income rose to NZ$106M while expenses fell to NZ$103M and the organization's cash reserves position "had been restored." The NZRU's reserves "had previously benefited from a positive foreign exchange movement which kept the union afloat throughout the global financial crisis" (FAIRFAX NZ NEWS, 3/26). The AAP reported a new relationship with U.S. insurance company AIG "played a major part in the improvement." The decision to advertise on the chest of the All Blacks' playing jersey "upset traditionalists but was defended by the NZRU as a necessity if the game was to continue flourishing at all levels." Tew said that "the NZRU would not need to dip into its reserves to the same degree that has been required in recent years" (AAP, 3/26).

PAINT IT BLACK:
The BUSINESS DESK reported Tew said that "the nine of the 15 provincial unions in the ITM Cup were in the black last year," with a combined surplus of NZ$626,000, compared to a total deficit of NZ$631,000 a year earlier. Tew: "There has been a clear focus by the unions on living within their means. We are not out of the woods by any means, and it remains a very challenging environment for any union to grow revenue from sponsorships and crowds." As part of its strategy plan towards '16, "the rugby union wants the sport to be financially self-sustaining across all levels." To help achieve that, it plans to build a shared-service model for back-office functions, "and create real-time reporting and forecasting tools for all provincial member unions to use" (BUSINESS DESK, 3/26).
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Finance, New Zealand

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