Business

Trading blip for Manchester United - but club still eye record profits (and a European trophy)

Manchester United - whose record goalscorer Wayne Rooney is pictured here during Sunday's Premier League match at Spurs - is on course for record profits despite a trading blip in the first three months of the year.

FOOTBALL giant Manchester United has revealed a trading loss during the last three months as operating expenses soared - but remains on track to post record full year profits as it expects “a strong finish to 2016-17 both on and off the pitch”.

The club had an operating loss of £4.1 million between January and March, down from a £23.2m profit in the same period last year, but revenues were 3 per cent higher at £127.2m.

And United has lifted both its revenue and profit guidance for the year, announcing projected revenues in the region of £560m-£570m (up from a £530m-£540m provisional estimate) while profit forecasts are lifted to between £185m and £195m (the club's record profit is £191.9m).

Latest financials show the club's broadcasting revenues rose 12.9 per cent to £31.4m but matchday revenues slipped 1.7 per cent to £29.3m.

The club incurred higher player contract expenses and was also hit by adverse foreign exchange movements, contributing to the first quarter loss.

Sponsorship revenues rose by £0.8m in a period where the club signed two deals with transport provide Uber and Singapore-based online shopping firm Aladdin Street.

But net debt at the club at the end of March stood at £366.3m, an increase of £17.6m over the year.

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: "We are forecasting better full-year financial performance than expected, and as such have raised our revenue and profit guidance for the year."

He added: “As we near the end of the season, I'm delighted we have picked up two trophies so far, and look forward to competing for a third in the Europa League final, the only trophy we have never won.”

United face Dutch side Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm on Wednesday May 24, where victory will secure a coveted place in the Champions League for next season.

That would see them return to European football's top tier competition for the first time since 2015 and result in a significant financial cash windfall.

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