Celtic first-half profit tops £24m on revenue of £53m

Celtic chairman Ian Bankier (left) and CEO Peter Lawwell

Celtic plc said on Friday its revenue increased 6.6% to £53.3 million and profit before taxation rose almost 30% to £24.4 million in the six months to December 31, 2019.

Profit from transfer of player registrations — shown as profit on disposal of intangible assets — rose to £23 million from £17.6 million.

Period end net cash at bank was £32.9 million and period end net cash, net of debt and debt like items, was £45.1 million.

Celtic plc chairman Ian Bankier said: “I am pleased to report another strong set of interim results, for the six months ended 31 December 2019.

“These show revenues of £53.3m (2018: £50.0m) and a profit before taxation of £24.4m (2018: £18.8m) that included a profit from trading of £7.1m (2018: £6.2m).

“Period end net cash at bank was £32.9m (2018: £38.6m) ….

“Following the permanent appointment of Neil Lennon in May 2019 and the securing of an unprecedented ‘Treble-Treble’, the club entered the new season with optimism.

“Whilst we were disappointed not to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, Neil and the team quickly put this set back behind them and took on the challenge of a testing Europa League group.

“They performed with real distinction by winning the group with a match to spare, a first-time achievement, and defeating an Italian Club on its home soil which was also a first for Celtic in the current format of competitive European football. 

“The club went on to secure its tenth consecutive domestic trophy by defeating Rangers FC in the Betfred Cup Final in December 2019. 

“As 2019 drew to a close the club reflected on the most successful decade in its history, having won 18 trophies from a possible 30.

“Whilst the financial results were absent of the enhanced income associated with Champions League Football for a second year, the overall financial performance improved.  

“In addition to significant gains from player sales, the underlying trading remained buoyant through revenues from commercial arrangements, match day sales, hospitality and merchandising. 

“The profit on disposal of intangible assets recognised in the period amounted to £23.0m (2018: £17.6m).

“A key contributor was the sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal FC. Our period end net cash at bank of £32.9m (2018: £38.6m).

“Crucially, we continue to commit substantial funds to our football department. 

“Salaries have increased over the same period last year and in the summer and winter transfer windows 2019/2020 we invested in ten new player registrations. 

“During the period under review, we secured the permanent registrations of Christopher Jullien, Hatem Abd Elhamed, Boli Bolingoli, Greg Taylor, Jeremie Frimpong, Luca Connell, Lee O’Connor and Jonathan Afolabi as well as acquiring the temporary registrations of Fraser Forster, Moritz Bauer and Mohamed Elyounoussi. 

“In addition, we extended the contracts of James Forrest, Callum McGregor, Nir Bitton, Michael Johnston and Scott Bain.

“In the January transfer window we subsequently acquired the permanent registrations of Patryk Klimala and Ismaila Soro. 

“And we continued to supplement our first team by developing our own emerging talent, with Karamoko Dembele beginning to secure more first team appearances in recent months and Michael Johnston becoming a regular first team player.

“At the time of writing, we sit at the top of the Scottish Premier League having secured 67 points which equates to 10 more than the same stage last season after 25 matches played. 

“By almost all key footballing measures, performance has improved relative to the same period last year.

“The board is keenly aware of the inherent volatility that exists in football and continues to adopt the self-sustaining financial operating model that has delivered stability and the all-important objective of football success.

“We will continue to pursue this strategy, whilst balancing the key short term objectives of retaining the SPFL Premiership title, the Scottish Cup and advancing in Europe.

“As in previous years, our trading seasonality dictates that the financial performance in the second half of the financial year ended June 2020 will most likely be lower than the first half, owing to playing less home matches and the expectation of receiving less distributions from UEFA competition.

“Finally, on behalf of the board I would like to reiterate to our supporters, shareholders and partners that their commitment is greatly appreciated and their contribution has been once again outstanding in helping to deliver continued success.”