Return to Europe lifts Manchester United finances
A return to the lucrative Champions League helped English soccer club Manchester United to report a 39pc rise in first-quarter revenue - higher broadcast and matchday income taking the figure to a record level.
Sales for the first three months of the 2015-16 financial year were also boosted by income from a new kit supply deal with Germany's Adidas and the fact that shirts and other equipment are selling well.
United, currently fourth in the English Premier League, failed to qualify for last season's Champions League, Europe's top club competition, but look set to progress out of their group to the knockout stages.
The relatively poor performance of English teams in the Champions League in recent years could eventually cost them one of the four slots in the competition.
"If we did as badly as last year and Italy and Germany did as well as they did last year then that fourth position would come under threat for next year," Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward told financial analysts.
The club, owned by the American Glazer family, maintained expectations for higher full-year adjusted core earnings of £165m to £175m, up from £119.9m last year.
It is forecasting annual revenue of between £500m and £510m. The club is to pay a quarterly dividend of $0.045 per share.
Shares in Manchester United jumped almost seven percent to $19.39 on the New York Stock Exchange, valuing the club at around $3bn.
United, English league winners a record 20 times, are trying to return to winning ways after Alex Ferguson signed off in May 2013 after 26 years in charge. (Reuters)