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Arsenal’s Net Income Declines as Profit on Player Sales Falls

Premier League soccer team Arsenal said net income fell in the fiscal first half as profit from player sales declined.

The London-based club had after-tax profit of 2.8 million pounds ($4.7 million) for the six months to Nov. 30, down from 14.9 million in the year-earlier period, Arsenal Holdings Plc (AFC) said in a statement.

Profit on the sale of player registrations was 6.1 million pounds, down from 42.5 million. The 2012-13 figure was boosted by the sale of Dutch striker Robin van Persie, who signed for Manchester United for a fee of 24 million pounds, according to Soccerbase.com. Total revenue was little changed at 137.9 million pounds, compared with 138.4 million.

“As is frequently the case, player trading has had a material impact on the overall result for the period,” Arsenal Chairman Chips Keswick said in the statement. “There was a low level of outward transfer activity during the summer window with only the sales of Gervinho and Vito Mannone generating appreciable fees.”

Transfer fees paid for players, such as Mesut Ozil who joined this season for a club record 42 million pounds, can be amortized over the length of their contracts. After amortization costs, the Gunners showed a net loss of 12.6 million pounds on player trading, compared with a profit of 23.2 million.

Property revenue declined to 2 million pounds from 32.3 million the previous year, which had included the sale of the Queensland Road market housing site. Matchday income increased to 45 million pounds from 37.8 million, while broadcasting revenue rose to 52 million pounds from 40.1 million, mainly as a result of the league’s new broadcasting contracts. Commercial and retail income rose to 38.4 million pounds from 27.7 million.

Tax Credit

A tax credit of 5 million pounds helped the club to report the positive net income figure, after a pretax loss of 2.2 million pounds.

The club had cash balances of 120.6 million pounds as at Nov. 30, up from 99.7 million, which excludes debt service reserve balances.

Last month Arsenal announced that at the end of the season Puma SE will replace Nike Inc. as the club’s jersey supplier in a multiyear agreement that the team says is the largest commercial agreement in its 127-year history.

The pact is worth 150 million pounds over five years with an additional 4 million pounds annually in “possible add-ons,” according to London’s Daily Telegraph. That tops Manchester United’s 25 million-pound annual deal with Nike Inc. and Liverpool’s contract with Warrior Sports for a similar amount. The Puma income won’t be included until the next financial year, the club said.

Champions League

Arsenal, coached by Arsene Wenger, is currently second in the Premier League with 12 matches to play. It trails Chelsea by a point after having led the 20-team division for most of the season. It lost 5-1 against Liverpool on Feb. 8 and this week drew 0-0 at home against Manchester United.

Next week it takes on Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League. The German team won last season’s elite European competition.

Arsenal’s majority shareholder is American billionaire Stan Kroenke, who also owns the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Priechenfried in London at bprie@bloomberg.net

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

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