More than a football club, a global brand For these fans, there is only one United Annual Report 2003 Manchester United is one of the leading clubs in world football, with a global brand and following that embodies the passion and excitement of the world’s most popular sport. Our goal is, through innovation, commitment and evolution, to protect and develop the brand by sustaining the playing success on the field and growing the business to enhance the financial strength of the Group.
Contents 1 Highlights 2 Chairman’s statement 6 Operational review 32 Financial review 38 Corporate social responsibility 44 Board of directors 46 Directors’ report Corporate governance 51 Remuneration report 57 Financial statements 79 Statement of directors’ responsibilities 80 Auditors’ report 81 Five year summary 82 Shareholder information 85 Advisers and internal contacts Highlights > Turnover up 18 per cent as a result of strong cup runs, increased media revenues and the start of the new Nike partnership. gt; Staff costs represent 46 per cent of turnover (2002 48 per cent). > Net player trading profits.
Team success The team emphatically answered its critics by remaining unbeaten in the Premiership from the start of 2003 to win the Club’s eighth Premiership title in 11 years. The team reached the UEFA Champions League quarter finals for the seventh successive season – the best record of any team in Europe – before losing to Real Madrid in arguably the best tie in the competition. We also reached our first Worthington Cup final in nine years. Our loyal fans have once again showed tremendous support for the team with sell out crowds at virtually every one of our 33 first team matches at Old Trafford.
We appreciate the contribution that this support makes to our team’s and business success. Strengthening the squad During the off-season we have been exceptionally active in making progress on one of our core strategic goals, to maintain the playing success of the team. The sales of David Beckham and Juan Sebastian Veron, the release of David May and Laurent Blanc at the end of their contracts and the acquisitions of Tim Howard, Eric Djemba Djemba, David Bellion, Kleberson and Cristiano Ronaldo, were all important steps.
They have strengthened the playing squad and equipped the manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, with the players he needs to keep the club challenging for major trophies. These transfers have decreased the average age of the squad to 25 and have also reduced average player wages. I would like to express my appreciation of the contribution made by the players who have left, in particular David Beckham who has been with the Club since he was 16 and played a key part in our successes over the last decade.
Excellent financial results Our financial results have benefited from the additional games at Old Trafford (33 compared to 27 last season) as a result of cup successes, the start of the new Nike partnership, and strong contributions from the UEFA Champions League final at Old Trafford and our pre-season tour to the USA. Group turnover of ? 173 million was 18 per cent up on the previous year. ?8. 5 million (2002 ? 1. 3 million) was produced by our domestic cup runs, ? 27. 6 million (2002 ? 29. 9 million) from our participation in the UEFA Champions League and ? 4. 7 million from the USA Tour and hosting the UEFA Champions League final.
In addition, the first year of our new Nike contract is worth an additional ? 3. 5 million above the level guaranteed for the second year onwards of ? 20. 7 million. Aside from these factors the underlying revenues excluding cup success were ? 128. 7 million, which was 12 per cent up on a like for like basis on the previous year, as a result of the new Nike and Platinum sponsor contracts and higher UK TV revenues. 2 The ratio of wages costs to turnover was 46 per cent for the year, well within our target of 50 per cent of turnover as a result of continued financial discipline and the strong cup performances. Absolute wages went up by ? 8. million, a rise of 12 per cent, reflecting the new contractual commitments made in the prior year and higher bonuses from our success. Group operating profit before exceptionals, player trading and amortisation was ? 50. 0 million, 45 per cent above the previous year, benefiting from strong additional contributions from the new Nike partnership of ? 14. 8 million (compared to the previous arrangements), and a total of ? 3. 0 million from the UEFA Champions League final and USA Tour and the domestic cup games of ? 3. 6 million (2002 ? 1. 1 million). The UEFA Champions League games contributed 45 per cent (2002 73 per cent) of these profits.
Player trading profits The player trading profits were ? 12. 9 million (2002 ? 17. 4 million). The major element of this was ? 15. 9 million for David Beckham. This is calculated based on the unconditional proceeds of €25 million, less costs of the transaction and the discount paid to our bank to receive this sum on 2 September 2003 as opposed to over the four years originally agreed with Real Madrid. This profit, together with additional receipts from Blackburn for the sale of Andrew Cole and Dwight Yorke, was offset by the provision for the loss on the sale of Veron to Chelsea of ? 4. million. Increased profit after tax The profit after tax was ? 29. 8 million (2002 ? 25. 0 million) with the underlying tax rate of 32. 5 per cent being reduced by 8. 8 percentage points as a result of the release of provisions of ? 3. 4 million mainly in respect of a property transaction which took place in 1996. Strong cash generation The excellent financial results and continued discipline over costs and cash management have strengthened our balance sheet further.
At the year end we had cash and deposits of ? 28. 6 million. We spent ? 4. 2 million on capital projects, net of disposals, and ? . 9 million in net player acquisitions during the year with additional commitments to spend up to ? 23. 9 million on the five players we have bought in this summer. The balance sheet includes debtors of ? 23. 4 million from the sales of Beckham (received on 2 September) and Stam (due during the 2004/2005 financial year), which together with ? 12 million from the sale of Veron means we have total unconditional receipts of ? 35. 4 million over the next two years. Our cash generation will enable us to continue to strengthen the squad as necessary without the use of debt.
We completed the sale of the Golden Tulip hotel investment and recorded a profit on disposal of ? 0. 4 million in the second half year. Further conditional payments could be received depending on the release of monies retained for potential warranty claims. Demanding year for our staff The staging of 33 home Manchester United games, a FA cup semi-final, the UEFA Champions League final, the Super League Grand final and a Bon Jovi concert, made the year a demanding one for our staff. They have delivered each event with great skill and success.
We are delighted to have introduced a new profit-sharing scheme for the staff with effect from this year, which enables them to share in the financial success that these extra games and events bring. 3 Chairman’s statement continued Office of Fair Trading (OFT) decision Manchester United was disappointed that the Office of Fair Trading has decided that its limited involvement in the exchange of price information with Umbro for the short period of May to September 2000 had the object or effect of maintaining prices for replica shirts. The fine of ? 1. 65 million has been fully provided for in these results as an exceptional item.
Manchester United believes that there are strong grounds to appeal certain aspects of the OFT findings and therefore it has launched an appeal against these aspects to the Competition Appeal tribunal. Manchester United intends to make no further public comment on the matter until the completion of the appeal process. Board changes Martin Edwards stepped down from the PLC Board on 29 November 2002 and as Chairman of the football club in May after a long association since 1970. We would like to repeat our thanks to Martin for his many contributions to the Club over the years.
In addition, Peter Kenyon resigned as Chief Executive in September 2003 and the Board appointed David Gill, the Group Managing Director, as his replacement, with immediate effect. The Board would again like to record its thanks to Peter for his significant contribution to our success over the last six years. Improved shareholder returns The success of the Group over the last year has seen a significant re-rating of our shares which have risen over 80 per cent since September last year. We continue to work to deliver value to our shareholders.
The Board has recommended a final basic dividend of 1. 83 pence per share, making a total basic dividend for the year of 2. 5 pence per share, 19 per cent above last year. This is the twelfth consecutive year of increased dividend. Last year we announced our policy to consider special dividends depending on the overall profitability of the Group. As a result the Board recommends a special dividend of 1. 5 pence per share (2002 1. 0 pence per share) based on the excellent operating result and the tax provision release referred to above, together with the strong cash position of the Group.
No part of this dividend is dependent on this year’s player trading profits, since the Board intends that the cash generated from these sales will be reinvested in the playing squad, to help maintain the playing success. The Board has also decided that in future years any interim basic dividend will normally be 50 per cent of the previous year’s total basic dividend. This split will more closely reflect the level of profits earned in the first half of each year. Strategy for growth Our strategy for growth remains on course.
The four main themes of this strategy are: • Maintaining the team’s playing success The changes to the squad seen in the summer have reduced the average age to 25 (27 last year) and provided the manager with greater depth and more options for team selection. Our academy structure continues to produce young prospects who may have the potential to break through into the first team. • Developing the value of media rights The recently announced outcome of the invitation to tender for domestic FA Premier League TV rights for the period 2004/2005 to 2006/2007 has removed some of the uncertainty over the value of the core media rights.
However, we are continuing to look for ways to exploit additional and exclusive content by creating Club products that compliment the core FA Premier League offering and distributing them through our own media channels, which include MU Interactive, MU Mobile and MU Pictures. 4 • Leveraging the global brand The relationship with Nike has taken our brand strategy forward significantly during the year with the launch of the new home shirt in 58 territories and over 2. 5 million replica shirts (home, away and third strip) sold in the year. Over 40 per cent of the Nike Merchandising sales were generated outside the UK.
The pre-season tour in the USA was very successful, building on our fan base there and our partner relationships. Over the four games 270,000 tickets were sold. • Converting more fans to customers Our focus on improving our service to our fans and building our relationship with them remains a Company-wide objective. The Customer Relationship Management system is now fully operational with 1. 9 million fan records on the database, towards our target of 3. 5 million fan records by the end of 2005. We continue to learn about our fans’ interests and develop products and services for them.
The launch, in June, of our ‘One United’ membership scheme led to 125,000 new members by 31 July 2003 compared to 87,000 members at the same time last year. In August we also launched the new Red Cinema concept in Salford Quays, near the Old Trafford stadium, as another new service for our fans. Outlook We started the 2003/2004 season full of confidence after the four successful wins in the USA against high quality opposition. Our victory over Arsenal in the Charity Shield was satisfying but was overshadowed by the tragic death the day before of our young player, Jimmy Davis, in a car accident.
The manager and the players remain focused on maintaining the team’s success in the Premiership and progressing further in Europe. Our whole business is working hard to grow core revenues and profits. The close season player trading activity has ensured that the Group will maintain total wages costs below our target of 50 per cent of turnover. We expect wages for 2003/2004, for the same level of success, to be no higher than in 2002/2003. Manchester United has never been in a more robust financial position and the Board looks forward to the rest of the season with optimism about further playing success.
That success, combined with our business development initiatives and the Group’s financial strength, will enable the Group to continue to generate value for our shareholders. Sir Roy Gardner Chairman 30 September 2003 5 Operational review The past year has been a period of great progress for Manchester United, both as a football club and as a global brand. On the field, we won our eighth Premiership title in 11 years and performed well in the other major cup competitions, confirming that Sir Alex and his squad are as hungry for success as ever.
With success, however, comes the risk of complacency, and it is essential that we continue to develop and evolve our playing squad if we are to maintain our challenge to compete with the best. Squad development requires significant investment, and it is therefore vital for us to grow our revenues and to develop even stronger relationships with our fans. We recognise that their loyalty is perhaps our greatest strength – which is why we work hard to earn their trust through communications tools such as the Fans’ Forum and Fan Satisfaction Surveys, and by improving the quality and range of services we offer them.
Success on and off the field 6 The depth of our fans’ affinity with the Club and the breadth of our global supporter base are influential factors in growing the value of media and sponsorship rights, a key strategic objective for the Group. The Chairman has reiterated our four core strategies: • Maintaining the playing success • Developing the value of media rights • Leveraging the global brand • Converting more fans into customers These strategies will drive growth in our matchday, media and commercial revenues and underpin increased shareholder value.
Manchester United’s success on and off the field has been built up over a long period by my predecessors as Chief Executive, Martin Edwards and Peter Kenyon. Having worked with them both over the last six years, I share their vision and passion for the Club. I intend to continue to pursue the central objective that has guided our progress in the recent past: to grow Manchester United not just as a football club, but also as a global brand.
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