Wolves run up £46m loss despite falling costs

By David Owen

March 7 – Chinese-owned Wolverhampton Wanderers, currently experiencing an upturn in on-field fortunes under Spanish manager Julen Lopetegui, have posted a £46.1 million pre-tax loss for the year to end-May 2022.

This was generated on turnover down nearly £30 million from the prior season at £165.7 million. While gate receipts bounced back to over £13 million as fans returned to Molyneux, this was more than cancelled out by reductions in broadcasting rights and the club’s league distribution.

One of the impacts of the pandemic was that significantly more matches were included in the 2020-21 financial year than 2021-22. Sponsorship and advertising revenue also dipped from £15.5 million a year earlier to just over £13 million.

The latest figures were helped by £2.7 million in “other operating income”, relating to first a covid-linked insurance claim and second an interim insurance receipt following a January 2022 fire.

Operating expenses were forced down to just under £224 million, with staff costs dropping significantly to £120.6 million from £139.3 million the previous year.

The amount of cash flow derived from the sale of players was restricted to just over £20 million in the latest year, against £73.8 million in 2020-21. Against this cash spent on incoming transfers was only some £31 million in 2021-22, versus more than £84 million a year earlier.

A £15 million profit on disposal of player registrations was recorded, down from nearly £61 million in 2020-21 – the year when the club sold striker Diogo Jota to Liverpool.

The write-off of a parent loan resulted in a hefty exceptional gain for the corporate entity WW (1990) Limited in 2020-21. However, notes to the accounts indicate that bank loans climbed from £60.5 million at the end of that year to £104.5 million at end-2021-22. This loan is said to be repayable over a three-year term and to carry interest of 7.185% per annum. It is secured against future Premier League broadcast revenue.

Wolves’s ultimate holding company continues to be the British Virgin Islands-incorporated Fosun International Holdings Limited.

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