LONDON: Arsenal’s first-half pretax profits have slipped by more than 50pc. Financial results for the six months ending last November registered a pretax profit of £17.8m compared with £49.5m a year earlier.

The North London club said this was driven primarily by player sales of £42.5m, including Robin van Persie’s exit to Manchester United but the accounts also showed an investment of £40.9m in signing new players – Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud – and the extension of contracts for existing players.

That means that transfer business was balanced and the drop in profits had to be explored elsewhere.

The importance of football-related turnover was demonstrated by a drop from £113.5m to £106m as a result of four fewer home fixtures compared with the same period last year.

“Our ability to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe is underpinned by our financial performance which gives the club strength and independence,” said Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood.

“Our desire is to make everyone connected with Arsenal proud of the club. We know that comes through winning trophies but also through the way we do things and that will remain our constant guide.”

Arsenal said there is no short-term debt, adding cash reserves increased from £115.2m in 2011 to £123.3 million. The club should also benefit from an extended shirt and stadium sponsorship with Emirates, which will be worth up to £150m.

Hill-Wood added: “The Emirates partnership is one of the biggest sponsorship deals in the game and is an endorsement of the commercial approach we are taking.”

The sale of stars such as Cesc Fabregas allowed Arsenal to more than double profits for the last full financial year ending May 31, 2012.

Arsenal recorded a group profit before tax of £36.6m for the 2011-12 season compared with the 2011 figure of £14.8m and 2010’s £56m profit. However, group turnover has decreased in recent years from £379.9m in 2010 to £255.7m in 2011.

September’s figures showed this mark fell further to £243m.


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