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Champions League helps Celtic unveil record profit

Celtic Park
Raise the roof: Celtic may enclose Celtic Park (pic: Terry Murden)

Celtic announced a record-breaking pre-tax profit of £40.7 million from £6.1m in the previous year as a reward for returning to the Champions League and securing a domestic treble.

The club also benefited from player sales, including winger Jota’s move to Saudi Arabia and transfers of Juranovic and Giakoumakis.

Group revenue for the 12 months to June was also at its highest, soaring by 35.8% to £119.9m from £88.2m.

The club had £72.3m of cash reserves in the bank, from £30.2m in the previous year.

The £31.7m increase in revenue reflects the participation in the UEFA Champions League in season 2022/23, compared to incomer from the UEFA Europa League in the previous season. This resulted in greater ticket and media rights income. 

There was also additional income from the tour of Australia and a record year for the retail business.  Other income amounted to £13.5m and included compensation for the departure of Ange Postecoglou and a business interruption insurance recovery in relation to Covid-19.

Operating expenses including labour increased by 4% to £95.4m alongside a gain on sale of player registrations of £14.4m, from £29m. There was an acquisition of player registrations of £13m against £38.4m.

Chairman, Peter Lawwell, said: “It is important to highlight that, given the increasing gap between the sums able to be earned between the Champions League and the Europa League, it is vital that we retain a cash buffer in reserve. 

“History tells us that we will not always qualify for the Champions League and the benefit of holding cash reserves affords us the optionality of managing through seasons where we participate in the Europa League with the ability to retain our squad as opposed to selling key players to bridge the income shortfall between both competitions. 

Peter Lawwell: proven strategy

“The Financial sustainability rules are also a key feature of UEFA licencing and we need to be cognisant of running our club accordingly.

“Our successfully proven strategy has delivered stability and footballing success over many years and remains the same. 

“Our successfully proven strategy has delivered stability and footballing success over many years and remains the same. We must balance the signing of players that can be developed and sold when conditions are optimal alongside the need to sign players who are able to make an immediate impact and deliver footballing success.

“The execution of this strategy is increasingly challenging owing to wage and transfer inflation, but this formula has underpinned both our footballing success and financial stability over a number of years now and it is vital that we adhere to it.”

Chief executive, Michael Nicholson, noted: “As we continue to develop our Club for the future, we are aware of the ongoing turbulence and uncertainty in the economy and the challenges presented for our business, our partners and our supporters.

“Our model seeks to balance our commitment to football success with the crucial importance of financial sustainability.

“These are (frankly) incredible financial results, achieved during a year the club delivered the eighth treble in our history and fifth in seven seasons. 

“A significant portion of our resources will pay for infrastructure projects at Barrowfield and Lennoxtown.  I would like a roof on Celtic Park (they have them in Warsaw, why not Glasgow?), but we will have to wait for that.  We’ll dig deeper into the accounts tomorrow.”

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