11/05/2022 - 15:30

Arts companies bank $2.3m from Fortescue dividends

11/05/2022 - 15:30

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Major Western Australian arts companies have reaped huge benefits from Fortescue Metals Group shares donated by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2011.

Arts companies bank $2.3m from Fortescue dividends
West Australian Ballet received $927,714 in dividends. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Three major arts organisations have received a large windfall of a combined $2.3 million in dividends from Fortescue Metals Group shares gifted to them in 2011.

The Forrests donated 650,000 Fortescue shares worth $3.7 million to West Australian Ballet, West Australian Opera, Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA, West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Art Gallery of WA’s Future Fund in 2011.

According to the organisations’ 2021 annual reports, West Australian Ballet received $927,714, West Australian Opera got $723,735 and Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA banked $613,843 in dividends.

This is a large increase from the dividends received in 2020, when a combined $1 million was collected by the three organisations.

The Art Gallery of Western Australia’s 2021 annual report said it received $735,000 in dividends but did not specify what shares it owned.

It is understood WASO sold the gifted shares in 2015 for $184,000.

The news comes as all five arts organisations increased their revenue in 2021. 

WA Ballet had a record year, reaping $4.9 million from the box office and welcoming the most ever patrons to its performances.

It finished the year with a net profit of $2.5 million.

Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA increased its 2021 revenue by $2.1 million compared with 2020 and recorded a profit of $1.7 million, up from $402,317 in 2020.

While WA Opera and WASO increased their revenue, profits were lower than in 2020 due to higher operating costs.

WA Opera posted a profit of $631,773, down from a profit of $1.6 million in 2020 due to higher costs.

The state orchestra’s 2021 revenue increased by $1.4 million on 2020, but it posted a net profit of $2.8 million, a decrease from the $4.6 million recorded in 2020.

The Art Gallery of Western Australia published its annual report for the 2021 financial year in October.

It increased its revenue from non-government sources to $8.7 million from $6 million in 2021, due to bequests, increased dividend income and revaluation of other financial assets. Its revenue from government increased from $8.7 million to $9.4 million.  

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