Beckhams pay themselves £21m despite fashion losses

David and Victoria Beckham attending the Fashion Awards in association with Swarovski held at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensingt
David and Victoria Beckham attending the Fashion Awards in association with Swarovski held at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London.

David and Victoria Beckham have handed themselves more than £21 million from their sport and media empires in dividends, according to new accounts filed with Companies House.

The couple’s accounts for their businesses revealed a £14.5 million dividend was paid in 2019 – up from £11.1 million in 2018 – with a further £7.1 million handed over in 2020.

This came despite Mrs Beckham’s fashion empire seeing growing losses and a breach of covenants over a bank loan, requiring a £9.2 million cash injection.

Pre-tax profits at David Beckham Ventures Limited, which manages the former footballer’s global brand rights, dropped to £11.3 million in 2019, from £14.8 million the year before.

This was due to increased costs in expanding the business and falls in the pound against foreign currencies.

It also included a £1 million donation to UN agency Unicef, where Mr Beckham is an ambassador.

The most recent dividends went solely to the Beckhams, after the couple bought out the 33% stake owned in DBVL by XIX Entertainment – a media group run by music mogul Simon Fuller. He retained a stake in Mrs Beckham’s fashion business.

DBVL revenues rose by £600,000 to £16.2 million thanks to new licensing and brand partnerships, including Adidas, Diageo, Tudor, Coty, AIA and hotel group Sands.

The company also has a stake in US Major League Soccer team Inter Miami FC.

Mrs Beckham’s business – Victoria Beckham Holdings Limited – saw pre-tax losses widen to £16.6 million in 2019 from £12.5 million the year before.

Victoria Beckham shop stock
Victoria Beckham’s Dover Street store has been closed throughout most of the pandemic (Nick Ansell/PA)

The group, which is owned by Beckham Brand Holdings, XIX Entertainment and private equity firm NEO investment Partners, said last year that it breached the financial covenants of a loan with HSBC, which led to shareholders injecting £9.2 million to settle the debt.

In September, the company launched an “extensive cost-cutting programme” and restructuring, including streamlined operations.

Mrs Beckham’s business was also forced to reverse a decision to furlough 30 staff members under the taxpayer-backed scheme.

Sales at the fashion label increased £2.5 million to £38.3 million in 2019, but it continued to lose money and did not pay a dividend. The accounts said: “Directors continue to focus on taking the company to breakeven.”

It added that sales were boosted in the final three months of 2019 by the launch of the Victoria Beckham Beauty brand. The retailer’s flagship Dover Street store in London also saw double-digit revenue growth.

The accounts added: “Since the year end, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted trading, with stores carrying the company’s products subject to varying lockdown restrictions.

“This led to a substantial closure of the group’s stores during 2020 (late March to end May, November, late December onwards) and a resulting impact on revenues.

“Over this period the company’s ecommerce operations saw positive year-on-year growth.”

Online sales were up more than 20% in the UK, 36% in Europe and 44% in Australia.

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