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Goals revenue is up as more soccer sites in the pipeline

GOALS Soccer Centres has hiked its half-year revenue by 3 per cent but warned it will book £3.2 million of exceptional costs related to taking out a new loan facility.

The East Kilbride business, which runs 44 five-a-side football centres in the UK and one in Los Angeles, expects to add one more site before the end of its financial year. Its plan is still to add a further three in the next trading year, including the opening of a second facility in the United States, which is also likely to be in LA.

Goals has developed a modular building system to reduce the building costs associated with its sites and has pencilled in an accelerated roll-out across the UK and US from 2016.

In a trading update covering the first six months of 2014 it said: "With a healthy pipeline of new sites and the scope to further grow profitability in the existing centres, Goals is well positioned to deliver sustainable growth."

Part of the strategy to add more sites saw it raise more than £11 million from investors in March this year to help fund the expansion.

Yesterday it confirmed negotiations on a new loan facility of £42.5 million were at an advanced stage.

However, Goals will have to pay £500,000 in fees to break its existing banking arrangements.

Alongside that the directors have decided to remove the liability on an interest-rate swap which will cost the business around a further £2.7 million.

Both sums will be noted as exceptional costs in the interim results for the six-month period, which are due to be published in September.

Goals said it believes taking the charges is in the best long-term interests of the business.

It said: "The restructured facilities will reduce the company's interest expense by in excess of £1 million per annum once fully implemented.

"Goals operates in a resilient marketplace with a favourable price point and a market-leading position.

"The board remains confident of continued progress in 2014 and beyond."

Along with that it said revenue for the six months to June 30 came in at £17 million, up from £16.6 million, which was in line with the board's expectations.

Goals, which has been headed by chief executive Keith Rogers since 2000, said it was seeing operational improvements as a result of its Path to Success initiative, which included beefing up head office and managerial staff, along with investment in systems and digital platforms.

A mobile device app is on course to be launched in late August.

Goals said: "The app is designed to drive top-line growth by making it easier for team organisers to make bookings, manage teams and player payments, as well as reduce cancellations and build new teams through the use of its team and player matching functionality."

In June 2012 the board had backed a £73m takeover offer by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan which had promised £40m to expand the business. But the 144p-a-share deal was rejected by shareholders.

Shares in Goals closed yesterday down 4p, or almost two per cent, at 222.5p.

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