Business

Manchester United boss Gill 'comfortable' with finances

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Media captionMan Utd chief executive David Gill tells a Commons committee inquiry into football governance that debt has not hampered the club

Manchester United chief executive David Gill says he is "comfortable" with the club's financial situation, including debt and interest repayment levels.

Mr Gill told a Commons committee hearing into football governance that net debt of £370m and annual interest of £45m was not hampering United.

"We know it's there but it doesn't impact what we do," he said.

He added that if the £45m figure was not there "it would be better", but it had not halted development at the club.

"There has been no impact in terms of our transfers," Mr Gill said.

And he said that under club owners, the Glazer family, revenues had risen from £40m in 2006 to more than £100m.

Mr Gill was appearing before the House of Commons' Culture, Media and Sport committee inquiry into football governance,

Investment

Image caption The club says it can still make expensive transfer signings, of players such as Javier Hernandez

Mr Gill said there had been great growth in the past five years since the Glazers took over in terms of turnover and that the Old Trafford club was "a profitable business".

He said those running the club were always looking to "try to grow our revenues, invest in the business, so that we can continue to be successful".

He also said that club debt had not restricted the club in the transfer market, or in improving facilities such as training pitches for the players or in terms of items such as corporate boxes.

In addition, Mr Gill said the club had invested in its workforce over the years, with the number of staff at the club rising from 460 to 600.

'War'

Mr Gill told the committee of MPs that "the business objectives of Manchester United" depended on "how successful our team is".

The club currently sits top of the Premier League and is still in the FA Cup and Champions League.

He also said the club was correct in not holding discussions with the Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST) as the body was "at war with the owners", whom they wanted to change.

In February it was revealed there had been a transfer of the ultimate parent company of the club, Red Football LLC, from Nevada to Delaware.

That has raised fears about the ultimate ownership of the club, as companies' beneficial ownership information is not registered in the small US state.

But Mr Gill insisted that "the ultimate owners, 100%, are the Glazer family".

Balance sheet

Last month, the Glazer family again denied rumours of a plan to sell Manchester United to Qatar, as the football club revealed strong merchandise sales.

Those latest results showed revenues of £156m for the six months to December, up 8% on a year earlier.

Commercial sales of £50m were up 30%. However, matchday turnover fell marginally, down 0.4% to £52.4m.

Meanwhile, the football club's balance sheet - a sore point for many fans since the Glazers' debt-financed takeover - was somewhat healthier.

Gross debts fell and rising cash balances rose, meaning that the club's net debt position - the difference between the two - fell 9% over the year, to £355m.

The Glazers' insistence that they remain committed to their long-term ownership of the club follows a similarly robust statement three months ago that failed to quash rumours of a possible sale.

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