Manchester United swing into profit, reduce debt

Manchester United on Wednesday announced a return to first-quarter profit thanks to a slew of sponsorship deals and a huge tax credit, while the English Premier League leaders have also cut their debt.

United revealed net profits of £20.38 million ($32.33 million, 25.38 million euros) for the three months to September 30 compared with a loss after tax of £5.0 million in the first quarter of its 2011/12 financial year.

United's earnings were boosted by a tax credit of £26.5 million, which compared with only £1.4 million a year earlier.

"Manchester United had a record first quarter driven by our commercial operation, which continues to experience extremely strong global revenue growth in new media and mobile, retail merchandising and sponsorship," executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said in the group's earnings statement.

United's sponsorship revenue surged 32.4 percent in its first quarter, while overall sales income hit a quarterly record £76.3 million.

The club secured 10 new sponsorship deals in the reporting period, including with US carmaker General Motors, Spanish bank Santander and Azerbaijan's mobile phone operator Bakcell.

United, owned by US businessman Malcolm Glazer, added that its gross debt dropped 17 percent to £359.7 million in the quarter. Glazer controversially bought the club in 2005, in a deal that saddled United with a mountain of debt.

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