Profits have plummeted at retail tycoon Mike Ashley’s investment vehicle Mash Holdings, more than halving in the year to April 2017.
Pre-tax profits fell from £277m to £102.5m according to accounts filed at Companies House. They had already fallen dramatically from £520m the previous year after the Sports Direct boss was hit by foreign exchange headwind fallout from Brexit.
The drop in profit was mainly due to Ashley’s football club Newcastle United, at which turnover shrank 30% from £131m to £91m. Newcastle is currently up for sale.
Ashley borrowed £907m during the financial year, an amount which has since increased to £913.5m. Ashley said that he would use the money to “to seek out profitable investments and development projects”.
The accounts pre-date his acquisition of House of Fraser, for which he paid £90m last August, and Evans Cycles, for which he paid £8m.
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Ashley has since bid for collapsed chains Patisserie Valerie and HMV but neither bid has been successful. Ashley pulled out of the running for Patisserie Valerie and was pipped to the post by Canadian entrepreneur and owner of Sunrise Records Doug Putnam in the bid for HMV.
The accounts, which were six months late, show that Ashley did not take a salary or receive a dividend during the year but that Mash spent £109m buying back shares from shareholders, which could include Ashley himself.
Sports Direct, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, posted a 27% drop in profits on revenues of £1.7bn for the half year to October 28, 2018.