Debts increase for Manchester United parent company

Manchester United's continuing debt repayments have led to their parent company posting a £44.8m (€49.5m) pre-tax loss for the year ending June 2008.

That figure takes Red Football Joint Venture Ltd's overall debt to £649.4m (€717.8m), despite an operating profit of £80.4m (€88.8m) over the same period.

That profit represents an improvement of £5m (€5.5m) on the previous year, achieved partly thanks to United's triumph in the Champions League final last May.

The figures were released by Companies House this morning and show that while United's debt remains a concern, their day-to-day business model is strong.

Increased TV revenues and sponsorship deals with Saudi Telecom, Diageo, Budweiser and the Seoul Metropolitan Government show the Red Devils are still a powerful brand across the globe, even at a time of worldwide economic austerity.

The ongoing success of Alex Ferguson's side, even if their position in the Champions League looks distinctly uncertain following Tuesday's draw with FC Porto, means they also have a crowded pre-season programme already in place, taking in a four-match Asia tour immediately followed by a four-team tournament in Munich.

However, the fans who have steadfastly opposed the Glazer family takeover are bound to ask just how United can ever hope to repay their huge debt given that current profits just get swallowed up by repayments.

The Glazer family have never spoken about the situation publicly, although representatives of the owners always insist there is no issue.

However, with major shirt sponsors AIG now under the control of the US Government, United are already on the hunt for a replacement, knowing a vociferous lobby with the US Senate feels the company should back out of the final year of their contract.

In addition, any effort to restructure United's current debt is bound to be challenging in the extreme with banks under pressure from both sides of the Atlantic to show responsibility and caution in their lending.

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