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Tue 9th Apr 2024 - Red Engine secures new £60m banking facility to support global expansion plans
Red Engine secures new £60m banking facility to support global expansion plans: Red Engine, the Flight Club and Electric Shuffleboard operator, has secured a new £60m facility from Santander, HSBC and Barclays to support its global expansion plans, including building out its presence both in the UK and the US. It comes after the business recently reported that its sales rose to more than £100m in 2023. Excluding franchise venues, Red Engine’s sales reached £67m, producing Ebitda of £12.2m. The total Red Engine and partners’ estate currently stands at 25 venues – 17 owner-operated and eight partner-owned by State of Play Hospitality (Flight Club in North America) and Night Owl (Flight Club in Australia). This portfolio is set to increase to 33 in 2024 as Red Engine and its partners are poised to open a further eight sites this year alone – four company-owned and four partner-owned. Red Engine will open Electric Shuffle Manchester and New York, and Flight Club Liverpool and Oxford, while the franchise partners opening pipeline for 2024 consists of Flight Club Philadelphia, Washington, Sydney and Melbourne. Last month, Steve Moore, founder and chief executive of Red Engine, told Propel he believes the company can grow to more than 200 Flight Club sites in the UK, helped by taking a smaller format into market towns and villages. Speaking at Propel’s Multi-Club Conference, Moore said he believed Flight Club could eventually operate 200 sites in the US but could possibly open more than that here. He said: “We think we can probably go to about 200 in the US. Vegas is as big as 16,000 square feet, which is about 900 people, but in the UK we go as high as that but we also go as low as our site in Islington, which is 100 people, and we can do everything in between. We’re still trying to work out in the US if that smaller model works. The big one does, but does the smaller one work to really give you that runway? We want to do a bit more of a hub and spoke approach because it is exhausting having one in Boston, in Vegas and in Denver. So, I think it could be more than that [in the UK] because we came up with the concept in Croyde in Devon, and it was in a little pub and we wanted to bring that sense of community back like when we grew up in the 1980s. If we can prove the smaller model, we can go into more towns and more villages and create that sense of community for groups of friends and families gaming.” Moore said 2024 had started “strongly” and that the business had begun having conversations with potential investors as it looks at a fundraise towards the end of the year. On the new banking facility, Ross Shepley-Smith, chief financial officer at Red Engine said: “For the last nine years, everything we have done has been with our customers in mind. Our in-house game developers, our interior and design teams, our venue teams of chefs, bartenders and everything in between, have strived to give people the best experience possible. It's because of this that we’ve built such a loyal customer following, and it's these customers that have made it possible to grow as we have done. Our mission has always been to make groups of friends everywhere ridiculously happy, and we couldn’t be more excited to continue that journey with this new facility.”

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