English Premier League club Manchester United said it expected annual profit to jump by as much as 46 percent thanks to a return to Champions League soccer and a record kit deal, after reporting an expected fall in 2014-15 earnings.
The 20-times English champions, who have struggled for form since manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, said on Thursday they expected 2015-16 adjusted core earnings to be a record 165 to 175 million pounds on revenue of 500-510 million pounds.
“Our record revenue and (core earnings) guidance for 2016 reflects the underlying strength of our business and our confidence in its continued growth,” United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement.
United, owned by the American Glazer family, also said its board had approved a regular quarterly cash dividend and would pay $0.045 per share for the first quarter of 2016.
The club’s finances will be boosted this season by a return to Champions League soccer, Europe’s top club competition, after failing to qualify for last season’s campaign in 2013/14 with a seventh placed finish at home.
A raft of global and regional sponsorship, including a shirt deal with General Motors and a world record 10-year 750 million pound ($1.2 billion) kit deal with Adidas are also major additions, while increased Premier League TV money will add to its prospects.
The club, which has spent heavily on new players over the summer to help it challenge for silverware, said core earnings for the year to June 30 fell 7.8 percent to 119.9 million pounds, as expected, due to the absence of Champions League soccer last season.
Lower match day and broadcast sales pushed revenue down 8.8 percent, though the club’s corporate appeal continued to increase, with commercial income up 4 percent in the year.
Gross debt rose 20.2 percent to 411 million pounds, the club said, adding that a stronger U.S. dollar was a key contributor.
In a separate filing, United said it would raise another $400 million by selling 24 million “Class A” shares.