The shares, which were launched at $14, dipped after the club revealed they relied on a tax credit to deliver a profit in the first trophy-free season of the Glazers tenure at Old Trafford.
The tax credit of £27million, due to the club after they recorded consistent losses in the first years of the Americans’ ownership, covered an £11 million decline in revenue caused by United’s elimination in the Champions League group stage last season.
They were also knocked out of the FA Cup in the fourth round having reached
the semi-final the previous season, and were beaten to the
As a result United recorded a £23 million profit as revenue fell from £331.4 million to £320.3 million in accounts that were broadly forecast in the prospectus for the club’s recent New York share issue.
The Glazers remain hugely unpopular with supporters having borrowed £525 million to buy United, then debt-free, and diverted more than £500 million of revenues to service those loans and meet financing costs.
According to the latest figures the club still carry £437 million of borrowing in the form of bonds, down from £459 million the previous year, and spent £49.5 million servicing them, down 3.5 per cent on 2010-11.
Despite this, and the disappointment of the relative on-field failure, the underlying figures revealed on Tuesday will be viewed by the Glazers as vindication of their approach to United.
The figures show that commercial revenue continues to rise rapidly, outstripping broadcast and match-day income for the first time. New deals with sponsors, including a $559 million shirt sponsorship with Chevrolet, which does not begin in earnest until 2014, saw commercial income rise 13.7 per cent to £117.6 million.
Four of United’s last eight commercial deals were with Japanese sponsors, perhaps helped by the signing of Shinji Kagawa, and the club are to open a commercial office in Hong Kong.
The Glazers’ strategy has always been to service the huge cost of their takeover by increasing commercial income using a regional model. The debt-financed model is also tax efficient, with no tax paid in the years of paper losses and credits now the club are making a profit.
According to United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, it is working.
Woodward, who was not made available to answer questions from the media, told investors: “We are delighted to announce our first results as a New York Stock Exchange-listed company; fiscal 2012 was the best year ever for Manchester United’s commercial business.”
Woodward also forecast more growth in the coming seasons, with a 70 per cent increase in the latest Premier League television deal due to begin in 2014-15. United also have to renegotiate their kit deal with Nike, which expires in 2015.
The deal is worth about £23 million a year, which United consider well below the market-rate for a club of their stature.
“Our world-record $559 million shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet and the Premier League’s new £1 billion-a-year UK television rights deal [a 70 per cent increase] highlight the outstanding growth prospects for the future,” Woodward said.
“We also expect a substantial increase in the value of the Premier League’s international television contracts scheduled to be announced later this year.”