COLCHESTER Council’s commercial company had a turnover of £4.4 million last year and made a £394,000 profit, new figures have revealed.

Colchester Commercial Holdings Limited’s annual report reveals the money will paid to the council as a dividend.

The group is made up of three subsidiary companies - Colchester Amphora Homes, Colchester Amphora Trading and Colchester Amphora Energy.

It is the second year of trading for the companies and 2019/20 marked an increase in income and profit up from £4.2 million and £286,000 the year before.

The council is the sole shareholder in the firm.

During the year the firm, which employs 157 people, attracted 157,750 visitors to events across the town.

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Big name stars also helped to bring more than 25,000 visitors to Colchester when they performed in Castle Park.

In total 12,000 fans filled out the park to hear Sir Tom belt out hits.

Seven Days hitmaker Craig David proved the next most popular with 8,000 people attending his gig.

The Colchester Food and Drink Festival also brought in 10,000 visitors.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Audiences at Charter Hall were up 15 per cent and data shows 50 per cent of all ticket sales for events in the town are now from outside of the borough.

Over the course of the year the firm helped 3,450 people via its helpline and recorded 3,413 incidents on CCTV which resulted in 232 arrests.

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However, the companies have been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic with its venues closed as a result.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

It means next year the firm only expects to pass the council a dividend of £226,000.

Before the pandemic bosses were predicting an increase of £135,000 to £529,000 in 2020/21.

Nick Barlow, chairman of the board at Colchester Commercial Holdings, said: “It is heartening to see growth across all parts of the business.

“The group has demonstrated the added value it can bring through its ability to attract external funding, increase commercial opportunities and boost the local economy and jobs.

“The Amphora companies will be at the heart of future growth and innovation in delivering services and supporting Colchester Council through the challenging times ahead. I look forward to embarking on our next year of opportunity.”

During the year the companies also secured a £3.3 million grant to roll out new ultrafast broadband networks across the borough and continued its work on the sports park at Colchester Northern Gateway.