Arsenal’s Profits Double After Sales of Fabregas and Nasri

Arsenal Holdings Plc doubled its profits during fiscal 2012 after the London Premier League soccer team sold captain Cesc Fabregas and winger Samir Nasri.

Net income rose to 29.6 million pounds ($48 million), or 475 pounds a share, in the year ended May 31, from 12.6 million pounds, or 203 pounds a share, the team said today. Revenue declined to 243 million pounds as the club finished the conversion of its former Highbury stadium into apartments.

Arsenal amassed 153.6 million pounds in cash as it benefited from the sale of players, including Fabregas to Barcelona and Nasri to Manchester City, and property. The 13- time English champion is preparing for new European financial rules that will require teams to keep spending in line with sales.

“Clubs, fans and other stakeholders in the game are demanding a more rational financial approach and this reinforces our conviction that our club is strongly placed to succeed over the long term,” Chief Executive Officer Ivan Gazidis said in the club’s statement. “We have qualified for the Champions League for the 15th season in a row while off the pitch we have a business strategy and infrastructure that is helping us to grow our revenues.”

Arsenal continued to sell players this fiscal year. Robin Van Persie, who replaced Fabregas as captain, joined Manchester United for as much as 24 million pounds after refusing to negotiate a contract extension. Midfielder Alex Song moved to Barcelona for 15 million pounds.

Development Plan

Arsenal supporters in recent years have been critical of Wenger’s preference to develop young players rather than buy established stars after seven years without winning any titles.

Before this season Wenger purchased attackers Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud. All three played for their national teams during this year’s European Championship. Arsenal is tied for fifth in the 20-team Premier League after five games.

The cash was boosted by renewals from season ticket holders, who had until the end of May to pay for their seats.

Arsenal said commercial sales rose 5.6 million pounds, taking the income in that part of its business to 34.2 million pounds. That amount is lower than that achieved by rivals including Chelsea and Liverpool, and more than three times less than record 19-time English champion Manchester United brings in annually from partners and sponsors.

Arsenal can expect higher revenue from sponsorship from 2015 when its current deal with jersey manufacturer Nike Inc. and top sponsor Emirates are up for renewal. United earlier this year announced General Motors Co. is paying $559 million to have its Chevrolet brand’s logo on the Red Devils shirt. Arsenal’s stadium-naming agreement with Emirates airlines runs through 2021.

Arsenal’s majority shareholder is American billionaire Stan Kroenke, who also owns the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams and the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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