Sunday 21 December 2014

Reds in the red

Published 04/03/2013 | 10:01

Ian Ayre has played down worries concerning Liverpool's debt levels
Ian Ayre has played down worries concerning Liverpool's debt levels

Liverpool have reported a £21.8million increase in their debt - now £87.2million overall - and a loss of £40.5million in their annual accounts.

A restructuring of their accounting period to align it with the football season means the figures apply to the 10 months between August 1, 2011 to May 31, 2012. They show that although commercial revenue increased, so did the club's overall liabilities.

However, managing director Ian Ayre played down the significance of a rise in debt levels. "It's definitely not something I believe anyone should be worried or concerned about. It is seasonal - our debt goes up and down," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"We have money to pay out and money coming in, just like any business. The difference in football is some of the swings are significant, so if you look at player trading, we may need to make investments as we do in the summer before our key revenues come in: big sponsorships cheques, big ticket revenues, all the media revenues etc.

"You come to Christmas when you maybe have less revenue coming in but you have got money that needs to go out, both on playing deals that you are doing at the time but also on historic player deals. Debt has increased but I think it's a factor of doing business in the time and place we are.

"We need to continue to improve our squad and what a lot of people won't relate to perhaps is that when you are improving your squad and making that investment, you have knock-on costs that will create debt in the short term. But hopefully in the long term we'll improve our position and we are very aware of that.

"We will continue to invest in the squad - I think that is what our fans would expect. But the most important thing is that we do it prudently and in a sustainable way that is affordable."

Other contributing factors to the increase in debt were player instalment payments plus exceptional payments of just over £9.5million - relating to matters such as the stadium project, general restructuring and pay-offs to senior employees who left the club.

"We see a big charge within the accounts for amortisation (depreciation in value) of players that have been disposed of within the period that perhaps came in on a higher cost," added Ayre.

"We've made losses as a result of selling them but at the same time we've improved our longer-term position in terms of our wage bill by reducing the wages for those particular contracts. We've in the same period refinanced our lending facilities, which gives us ability for working capital to operate as a business."

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