Manchester United is counting the cost of the impact of political decisions again. Losses of $40 million reported by United on Thursday were blamed on U.S. President Donald Trump’s overhaul of tax laws. The 20-time English champions last year attributed a near 30 percent surge in debt to the collapse of the pound after Britain voted to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum. Now the club, which is owned by the American Glazer family and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is dealing with the consequence of the corporate tax rate in the U.S. being cut from 35 percent to 21 percent in December.
The changes required United to make an accounting write-off of 48.8 million pounds ($68 million) in the second quarter of the financial year. So after recording a profit of 17.5 million pounds in the three months to Dec. 31, 2016, United swung into losses of 29 million pounds a year later. The club expects to only take a short-term hit from the tax overhaul instigated by Trump, who referenced United being owned by a friend in a recent interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan.
“It should be beneficial to the club in the long term, however we are still working through the details of the potential impact of the more complex aspect of the reforms with our advisers,” United chief financial officer Cliff Baty said in the earnings conference call. “This is a non-tax accounting charge only, which has no impact on our financial competitiveness nor our ability to meet Financial Fair Play regulations.”
In the first half of the financial year, United’s revenue rose 10 percent year-on-year to 304.9 million pounds with the team back in the Champions League. The return to European soccer’s elite competition also saw wages climb almost 10 percent in the second quarter to 69.6 million pounds _ a bill that will climb further after the signing of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in the January transfer window and handing manager Jose Mourinho an improved contract.
United said it is already reaping the benefits of signing Sanchez on shirt sales and online exposure.
“The announcement posts generated 75 percent more interaction than the sale of the world’s most expensive player last summer when Neymar moved from Barcelona to PSG,” United vice chairman Ed Woodward said.
The debt, which rose to 409.3 million pounds due to the currency fluctuations after the Brexit vote in 2016, now stands at 328.6 million pounds.