The club has now filed its accounts for the financial year ended May 31, 2019.
The Arsenal Group’s loss for the 2018/19 year after taxation was £27.1 million (2018 – profit of £56.5 million).
The result for the year can be broken down into the following key components:
|Operating profit before exceptional costs and player trading||73.0||75.4|
|Amortisation and impairment of player registrations||(91.0)||(91.8)|
|Sale of player registrations / Loan of players||16.8||122.3|
|Property trading profits||0.3||5.3|
|Net interest costs||(12.0)||(8.8)|
|(Loss)/profit before tax||(32.2)||70.2|
Football Revenue for the year was £394.7 million (2018 - £388.2 million) with the increase being mainly attributable to the club reaching the final of the UEFA Europa League (2018 – reached semi-final) together with increased commercial revenues which included the Visit Rwanda sleeve partnership as a new category. Overall operating profits were impacted by continued investment in player wages which meant that total staff costs, excluding exceptional costs, grew by £8.4 million to £231.7 million (2018 - £223.3 million).
The exceptional costs incurred of £3.9 million (2018 - £17.2 million) were attributable to a number of changes in the first-team coaching and support personnel and transaction advisory costs incurred by the Company in relation to KSE UK Inc becoming the Group’s sole shareholder.
After a high level of activity in the prior year, player trading activity for 2019/20 was fairly limited. The total profit on sale of player registrations was £12.2 million (2018 - £120.0 million) and player loans amounted to £4.6 million (2018 - £2.3 million). Player trading profits have a significant impact on overall profitability particularly where other operating profits are adversely impacted by participation in the UEFA Europa League as opposed to the more lucrative UEFA Champions League. Average annual profits on sale of player registrations over the last five years, including 2019/20, have been £34.0 million. During the year there was limited activity in the Group’s property development business.
Net interest costs were impacted by a negative movement of £0.7 million (2018 - £3.3 million positive) in the market value of the Group’s Stadium Finance interest rate swap.
Following additions to player registrations at a cost of £99.0 million and amortisation charges, the book value of intangible fixed assets (player registrations) was increased to £240.3 million (2018 - £238.2 million).
The year-end cash position, despite the delay of season ticket renewals into June as a result of the UEFA Europa League final, was robust with balances of £167.0 million (2018 - £231.3 million).
Commenting on the accounts the club’s chairman, Sir Chips Keswick, said: “Our player trading profit for this financial year was limited and this combined with a second consecutive season of Europa League football has meant the club recorded its first overall loss since 2002. For 2019/20 we will see increased commercial revenues from Adidas and our renewed deal with Emirates but another season outside the Champions League will continue to apply pressure to our financial results.”
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