Manchester United forecasts big jump in profit after Champions League return

English Premier League club Manchester United said it expected annual profit to jump by as much as 46 per cent, boosted by a return to Champions League football this season, after reporting an expected fall in 2014-15 earnings.

Having failed to qualify for last season’s Champions League, Europe’s top club competition, after a shock seventh place finish in 2013/14, United’s income has suffered.

The club said on Thursday that its core earnings for the year to June 30 fell 7.8 per cent to £119.9 million (Dh683.7m), as expected.

Lower matchday and broadcast sales pushed revenue down 8.8 per cent, though the club’s corporate appeal continued to increase, with commercial income up 4 per cent in the year.

Gross debt rose 20.2 per cent to £411 million.

United, owned by the American Glazer family, improved to a fourth place league finish in 2014/15 and after spending heavily on new players over the summer have since qualified for this campaign’s Champions League group stage.

The club said it expected 2016 adjusted core earnings to be between £165 and £175m. It also announced it had approved the payment of a regular quarterly cash dividend and would pay $0.045 per share for the first quarter of 2016.

“Our record revenue and (core earnings) guidance for 2016 reflects the underlying strength of our business and our confidence in its continued growth,” United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement.

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