Manchester United, the British football club owned by the Glazer family, made a record operating profit of £110 million (€124.69) last season, buoyed by higher match day and media revenues, as well as new sponsorship money.
Turnover jumped 15.7% to £331.4 million in the year to 30 June, according to the results, which come before the club’s initial public offering is expected to take place in Singapore in October.
Man United reported a pre-tax profit of £29 million and has reduced its net debt by nearly £70 million on the back of its improved revenue.
The news should come as a relief to many fans, who have staged a very visible campaign against the Glazers over recent years because of the club’s debt levels. However, even with the reduction, United’s debt still stands at £308.3 million.
The family have been under heavy scrutiny since it bought the Old Trafford club for £790 million in a controversial leveraged buyout in 2005.
Fans have since called on the Glazers to use the proceeds of the flotation to sort out the club’s finances.
“The IPO is not only the perfect opportunity for the Glazers to clear the debts - their debts - on the club but it is also the last opportunity,” said Manchester United Supporters Trust in a statement this week.
However, speaking to the UK’s Channel 4 News in August, football finance commentator and author of the Andersred blog Andy Green said he was concerned the money raised from the IPO would not be used to tackle the club’s debt and instead would “go back to Florida to the Glazer family, where they have significant financial problems with their property business”.
Reports suggest Manchester United will use a dual-share system for the IPO. This should enable the Glazers to minimise the impact of outside investors, but has raised concerns over corporate governance at the club.