Manchester United cashes in on its global megabrand

 
Julian Harris
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MANCHESTER United announced record annual revenues of £363.2m yesterday, with the English football giant massively expanding its commercial income streams.

Commercial revenue jumped by 29.7 per cent to an impressive £152.5m in the year to 30 June, with the New York-listed club insisting that there is more to come.

“We remain convinced there are huge commercial opportunities out there and we are excited about the growth ahead,” executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said.

Total revenue was up 13.4 per cent on the previous year, and is expected to reach £420m to £430m in the current fiscal year.

The club’s debt – a huge bone of contention with many of the team’s fans – fell by nearly 11 per cent to £389.2m.

Meanwhile, on the subject of dividends, the payment of which has also frustrated some of United’s supporter groups, Woodward was coy, refusing to rule out future payments. “As things stand there is no update with regard to a capital return plan or policy but we recognise our duty from a management/board perspective – the use of cash has various uses and we don’t expect to be building up large levels of cash on the balance sheet in the future.”

Along with the results, United also submitted a shelf filing which provides the option to seek up to $400m (£250m) from the markets, and for specific shareholders to sell up to $392m in stock. Yet Woodward insisted the move was “very much ordinary course” and that “there are no imminent plans” for share sales.