By David Owen
March 4 – This season’s Champions League may have ended in disappointment for Manchester United, but the broadcasting revenue earned for the team’s group stage participation was enough to push the Old Trafford outfit back into the black, despite the continued absence of matchday crowds.
Pre-tax profit for the three months to December 31 weighed in at £68.2 million, enabling the Red Devils to post a positive figure of just over £41 million for the first six months of the 2020-21 financial year.
Revenue for the latest quarter edged ahead to £172.8 million. Broadcasting contributed no less than £108.7 million of this, up from £64.7 million a year earlier. Commercial revenue stood at £62.6 million, down £8 million, with matchday income reduced by covid to just £1.5 million.
Operating expenses for the latest quarter were up more than 5% at £138.7 million, with employee benefit expenses surging as much as 15%. The club attributed this once again to Champions League participation along with squad strengthening.
The outturn was also helped by a profit on player disposals of £14.3 million. The cashflow statement showed, nevertheless, that the club spent fractionally under £38 million on “intangible assets” (players) in the last three months while receiving just under £3 million from player sales.
Net debt at December 31 was put at £455.5 million, an increase of £64.2 million over the year.
Ed Woodward, executive vice chairman, said: “As we approach a full year since our last game with fans at Old Trafford, we reflect on an extraordinarily challenging 12 months for football and society as a whole. The rapid rollout of vaccines in the UK and beyond gives us confidence that we are now on a path towards normality, including the return of fans to stadia.”
United currently lie second in the Premier League, albeit a distant 14 points behind local rivals Manchester City whom they play on Sunday.
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