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Manchester Utd Profit Lifted By Sponsorship

(c) Sky News 2013

Manchester United (NYSE: MANU - news) has said it is on course to hit its financial targets this year after reporting a hike in profit.

Pre-tax profit at the club - which is top of the Premier League - was up 47.9% to £28.4m in the three months to the end of December.

It signed six new deals with companies across the world, helping to boost its sponsorship revenue by almost 50% to £20.8m.

Manchester United's vice chairman Ed Woodward said the club "achieved record revenue ... in the second quarter driven by our commercial operation, which continues to experience extremely strong growth particularly in sponsorship." 

Its total revenue increased by over 8% to £110.1m.

But the club's gross debt was up slightly at £366.6m - compared with £359.7m in the first quarter.

It is the second time the club has reported financial results since it floated on the New York Stock Exchange last year.

Following the controversial flotation, the Glazer family paid down some of its debt, resulting in it falling below £400m for the first time since they bought the club in 2005.

Its shares currently trade at around $19 (£12.25) - significantly above their $14 listing price - meaning the club is worth around $3bn  (£1.94bn).

US-based asset management company BlackRock (NYSE: BLK - news) owns more than 8% of the floated shares, but the Glazer family retain a tight hold on the club because of its dual-share structure.

Manchester United also confirmed it had acquired the one-third stake in MUTV owned by BSkyB (LSE: BSY.L - news) , the parent company of Sky News, meaning it now has full control of the television channel.

It claims to be the world's best supported football team with more than 650 million followers across the world.

The financial results follow a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid as two of the world's richest clubs went head-to-head in Spain.

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