Lancashire, the reigning county champions, lost almost 4 million in 2011, reflecting the ongoing costs of redeveloping Old Trafford. The club's annual report included a loss of 1.8m in "accelerated depreciation" to account for assets demolished as part of the rebuilding, and more than half a million in legal fees in challenging a judicial review.
The figure of 3.96m sets a new record deficit by a first-class English county, beating by some distance the 2.1m losses recorded by Lancashire and Warwickshire last year. However, Lancashire said the The Point, the eye-catching but controversial conference centre opened in 2010, had started to drive revenue, with operating profit increasing by more than 700,000 on the forecast, after the "exceptional costs" were accounted for.
The development work, which will see 40m spent on upgrades, also encompasses new grandstands, player and media facilities being grafted on to Old Trafford, as well as work on a new pavilion, scheduled to open ahead of the 2013 season, when Lancashire are due to host Test cricket again for the first time since 2009.
Lee Morgan, Lancashire's finance and operations director, said: "The nature of this result is a continuing reflection of the difficulties faced with building a new stadium on an existing site. However, despite the difficulties faced we are still very much on course to achieve our goals and ultimately return to a vibrant and profitable cricket club and start to fulfil the potential that all at the club believe we are capable of."