Celtic revenue £31m; Europe causes frustration

Celtic chairman Ian Bankier (left) and CEO Peter Lawwell

Celtic plc said its revenue increased 0.3% to £31.4 million and profit before tax rose from £6.6 million to £11.7 million in the six months ended December 31, 2015.

However, chairman Ian Bankier said the club’s poor performance in Europe this current season has been “the cause of considerable frustration.”

Success in European competition can bring considerable rewards for football clubs.

While Celtic are still top of the Scottish Premiership and in the sixth round of the Scottish Cup, “we were unable to progress beyond the group stages of the UEFA Europa League, having not qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League,” said Bankier.

Bankier continued: “The strategy of the board is unchanged. Our overwhelming priority is to win the SPFL Premiership and to qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.  

“Our performance in Europe this season has been the cause of considerable frustration. 

“The challenge has been to maintain a settled and winning squad throughout the summer months when the crucial Champions League qualifying matches are played, to manage the player changes during the summer transfer window and then to kick on when the new season begins. 

“Each season we meet this challenge within the financial constraints of where we sit in Scottish football, for to do otherwise would be reckless.

The board considers that our self-sustaining model allows the club to look to the future with reasonable optimism.”

Bankier said that investment in, and management of, Celtic’s playing squad remains a key component of the club’s strategy and financial performance.

He said its profit on disposal of intangible assets of £12.6 million largely reflected the transfer of Virgil Van Dijk to Southampton. 

Bankier said that over the same period Celtic re-invested £6.1 million in its playing squad with the registrations of Scott Allan, Logan Bailly, Carlton Cole, Ryan Christie, Nadir Ciftci, Saidy Janko and Jozo Simunovic.

Also, during the 2016 January transfer window, further investment had been made with the signing of Danish international Erik Sviatchenko and Turkish international Colin Kazim-Richards.

Bankier stressed: “We sit at the heart of developments in football, both at home and in Europe, being represented by Peter Lawwell on the board of the Scottish FA, the European Club Association and on the Club Competitions Committee at UEFA.”

Looking forward to the second half, Bankier warned that “as with previous years, trading performance in the remaining months of this financial year will not be at the same level as that in the first six months (or the comparable period in 2014), with fewer home matches scheduled, no participation in European competition and lower expected gain on player sales.”

Eric Riley has stepped down as Celtic’s financial director after more than 20 years and is succeeded by Chris McKay, who joins from Deloitte LLP.