- Arena Events swung to a profit in the first half of the year as performance across its businesses in the Middle East & Asia offset weakness in Hong Kong and Dubai.

For the six-months ended 31 December 2019, the company reported a pre-tax profit of £4.1m compared with a loss of £1.4m on-year as revenue rose 16% to £92.7m.

'In the Middle East & Asia, the successful delivery of several large, high-profile projects in Saudi Arabia and at the Rugby World Cup in Japan have more than offset weakness in the Hong Kong and Dubai markets,' the company said.

The group reported a gross margin increase to 32.6% in the six-months compared to 31.3% in the same period in 2018, with regional mix playing a large role in this outturn.

The company said it expected 'broadly flat' year-on-year growth in the first calendar quarter, which was the 'traditionally quiet, loss-making quarter of the year.'

Looking further ahead, despite some concerns about the general trading environment in a number of markets, the company said it still expected to see revenue growth with the return of the US Open, the Ryder Cup, the Dubai Expo 2020 and further projects in Saudi Arabia.

At 8:36am: [LON:ARE] Arena Events Group Plc Ord 1p share price was +2.25p at 26.75p

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