Celtic plc late on Tuesday reported its financial results for the six months ended December 31, 2018, showing revenue fell to £50 million from £71.5 million in the same period last year and profit before taxation slipped to £18.8 million from £19.5 million.
Period end net cash at bank rose to £38.6 million from £30.9 million.
Profit from transfer of player registrations — shown as profit on disposal of intangible assets — soared to £17.6 million from £500,000.
Celtic secured European football after Christmas by qualifying for the round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League for the second year in a row.
But Celtic chairman Ian Bankier said in the statement: “We were very disappointed not to qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League (a task that continues to be challenging) but qualification from a very difficult group in the UEFA Europa League was a great achievement.
“These results reflect the absence of substantial UEFA Champions League revenues in comparison to the same period last year.
“But they are counter-balanced by the benefit of player trading, significantly by the permanent transfer of the registration of Moussa Dembele to Olympique Lyonnais.
“The profit on disposals of intangible assets of £17.6m (2017: £0.5m) largely represents this sale.
“Our period end net cash at bank, as indicated above, was highly satisfactory.”
Bankier added: “We also enjoyed exceptionally strong trading across all of our commercial bases, including match day sales, hospitality and merchandise.
“Our financial commitment to the playing squad, including transfer fees and first team salaries, and the coaching, technical and performance departments is at an all-time high.
“During the period we secured the permanent registrations of Emilio Izaguirre and Youssouf Mulumbu and the temporary registrations of Daniel Arzani and Philip Benkovic.
“Subsequently, during the January transfer window, we have acquired the permanent registrations of talented young international players Vakoun Bayo, Andrew Gutman, Emanuel Perez and Marian Shved and the temporary registrations of exciting talents Oliver Burke, Jeremy Toljan and Timothy Weah.
“Furthermore, the contracts of Kristoffer Ajer, Scott Brown, Ryan Christie, James Forrest, Leigh Griffiths, Michael Johnston, Callum McGregor, Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic have been extended.
“We believe that we have secured the core of a powerful squad for the club.
“In addition, we are delighted to see the continued emergence of young graduates from our Youth Academy, with Ewan Henderson making his first team debut and Karamoko Dembele signing his first professional contract with the club.
“My fellow directors and I continue to be highly alert to the uncertainties inherent in football and our long held strategy of operating a self-sustaining financial model has delivered stability and success.
“The board and Brendan Rodgers are committed to maintaining that crucial balance between competitive performance for our immediate targets this season and developing the club for the longer term.
“Our key objectives for the remainder of the season are to win the SPFL Premiership, secure The Scottish Cup and build towards the European qualifiers in the summer …
“Entirely in line with our trading seasonality, we do not expect the same level of financial performance to be achieved during the second half of the financial year.
“This is due to participating in fewer home fixtures and receiving lower income from European competition.
“However, due to the positive first half performance of football, media and merchandise sales, the expectation is to achieve a full year profit after tax marginally above previously communicated market expectations, with year end net cash at bank expected to be lower than December, reflecting the increased investment into football personnel.
“In line with previous years, the ultimate financial performance remains subject to the outcome of key events and fixtures, which typically are not known until the end of the football season.”