London – Manchester United made an annual loss of £83.6 million (R916 million) due to managing the cost of debt, the Premier League club said today, giving more ammunition to the many critics of its American owners.
The club, third in the Premier League, posted a record operating profit of £101 million due to increased broadcasting and commercial income, but made a loss when interest charges and the cost of restructuring its debt were added on.
Net finance charges for the year to June were hit by exceptional items totalling £64.7 million, mostly related to the refinancing of bank loans into a high-yield bond.
The news will add to a debate in Britain about club ownership after rivals Liverpool agreed to a sale to new owners in a bid to rid themselves of millions of pounds worth of debt that has limited their ability to buy new players.
Many fans of Manchester United say their club has been limited in the transfer market at a time when fierce local rivals Manchester City have spent heavily on new players under wealthy new owners.
Gross debt attached to the club, owned by the Glazer family, rose slightly to £522 million.