English Premier League soccer champions Manchester United on Tuesday reported an increase in first quarter earnings and said it had reduced its debt, benefiting from a sharp rise in commercial revenue.
The club, which in September put on hold a planned $1 billion (630 million pounds) flotation in Singapore due to market volatility, said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 30 percent to 19.3 million pounds in its first quarter to end September.
Manchester United, which currently sits in second place in the Premier League, said its gross debt had fallen to 433.2 million pounds from 516.7 million.
The club, which is the most successful in English football, received permission in September for an IPO, through which it was looking to sell up to 30 percent of the club.
It had planned to use some of the proceeds to bring down its debt, a burden which had made the Glazer family, the club's U.S. owners, deeply unpopular with supporters.
The club said it had seen continued momentum in its commercial business and a recovery in seasonal and matchday hospitality businesses.
Total revenue rose by 17 percent to 73.8 million pounds, including a 22 percent increase in commercial revenues to 29.6 million pounds as the club reaped the benefits of a new 80 million pounds shirt sponsorship deal with Aon Corp.
Media revenues, including television rights, rose by 17 percent to 22.6 million pounds. Matchday revenues were up 10 percent to 21.6 million pounds.
Clubs across Europe are trying to increase their revenue streams in order to meet tough new financial criteria set by the game's governing body, UEFA.
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; editing by Rhys Jones)