Today saw the release of the club’s annual accounts and as expected it revealed a pre-tax profit £56m, compared with £45m in 2009. Revenue rose from £313.3m in 2009 to £379.9m and net debt was reduced to £135.6m from £297.7m in 2009. The profit figure is derived from property (£11m) and football (£45m). The huge reduction in overall debt is the most surprising of all of the results and it puts us in great stead for the coming years, especially when you consider that Barcelona jizzed a 125m-odd bank loan against the wall in the summer just to cover the wages and running costs of the club. An important point to remember is that the remainder of our debt is borrowed at a fixed rate, so it is a very manageable and predictable cost to the club.
It is good to hear that the property side of things is now 100% debt free and is now generating pure profit for the club. This profit is set to be wholly reinvested in the club, both in the infrastructure and commercial side of things and, most importantly, the team.
Speaking to the official site, Peter Hill-Wood had the following to say regarding the latest set of financial results:
“The most pleasing aspect of these results is that the returns generated in the property business during the year, particularly at Highbury Square, have allowed us to repay £130 million of bank loans and significantly reduce the Group’s overall net debt. We now have a debt free property business which is accumulating surplus cash as further unit sales are made at Highbury Square and which has three further property assets to realise over the next few years.”
There was a slight drop in match day revenue, which Gazidis put down to the vagaries of the way the fixture list fell. Gazidis also pointed out that our youth system isn’t cheap and in order to tie players to the club we have had to increase salaries and renew contracts, which will be reflected in next year’s financial results in the form of a rise in the wages figure. More detailed quotes from Gazidis can be found on the official site.
One somewhat unsurprising thing revealed was that the club is going to build a new medical wing and rehabilitation centre at Colney. I believe it is going to be called the Robin Van Persie wing. Given the number of injuries we pick up, it is badly needed and hopefully we won’t have to send players abroad for treatment in the future.
One final point worth mentioning is that the club now has £127.6m of cash and bank balances in hand. Have a funny feeling Gazidis and Wenger will be hitting Stringfellow’s tonight with a sack for of notes. Well, that’s what I would do, which is why I just write about the club and don’t run it.
Fantastic results, I’m sure you’ll agree. The board and manager have had to endure severe flak over recent years with regard to a lack of transfer activity, yet they have always stayed true to their vision, skilfully guiding the club through a stormy financial climate to confirm the club’s position as the best run in the world.
Today is a milestone day in the history of the club.
The future is bright. The future is Arsenal.