Arsenal today announced a very strong set of financial results for the 6 months ended 30 November 2008. Arsenal made £24.5m profit after tax and interest of £12m for the period. Arsenal’s cash balance was £75m, down from £93m as at 1 June 2008, what is crucial is that £22m of this money has to remain in special accounts as security against Arsenal’s debt. Arsenal’s debt stood at £409m, of which £25m relates to former North Bank debentures.
The Arsenal results show a good steady financial progress, the interest payments and capital repayment are all under control and easily serviced by the clubs revenue.
The only blot on the landscape is the sale of flats at Highbury Square. The flats were going to be masterstroke that once sold would cut our debt to under £100m, which was before the worldwide economic crisis. The club has a loan that is repayable in April 2010; the value of the loan is £135m. Under normal circumstances that would not have been a problem, but things are no longer normal. The club is renegotiating an extension to this deadline; this is a necessity for the short-term liquidity of the club.
The club has sold 186 flats for £76.7m that is over £400K per flat, this money will start to reduce the loan on Highbury Square. The first tranche of this money has been used to pay the development and construction costs, then the loan will be repaid. Thankfully, we have paid all the costs and now any future sales will reduce the loan.
The total development will be for over 700 flats, at £400K per flat the club will expect to receive around £280m. Of this amount, £75m relates to the construction costs and £135m the loan for Highbury Square, leaving £70m to reduce the Emirates Stadium loan from £240m to £170m.
The money is there for future transfers, but it will require the board to renegotiate the Highbury Square loan and hopefully not too many people will pull out buying the flats at Highbury Square.