Celtic accounts: Rarely-witnessed profit swing revealed, reasons for figures laid bare, full statement from Ian Bankier

Celtic’s return to rude financial health has been laid bare by interim trading results for the six months up until December 31, 2021, with a rarely-matched profit swing of £33.5million due to the return of crowds and player sales.
Celtic's coffered have swelled due the return of crowds.Celtic's coffered have swelled due the return of crowds.
Celtic's coffered have swelled due the return of crowds.

In an update posted on their website, the current cinch Premiership leaders revealed that their profit before taxation was £27.6m, in contrast to the loss of £5.9m at the corresponding juncture a year ago, while their revenue had increased by 29.9 per cent to £52.9m, up from £40.7m.

Much of that cash was raised by the sale of players such as Odsonne Edouard to Crystal Palace, Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford and Ryan Christie to Bournemouth.

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The club revealed that it has just over £25m in the bank and profit from trading was at £7m. The club explained that the contrast in financial fortunes was largely down to the return of normal attendance levels and matchday revenue, a prolonged European campaign and the ability to cash in on key assets.

A statement from chairman Iain Bankier read: “The results for the six months ended 31 December 2021 show revenues of £52.9m (2020: £40.7m) and a profit before taxation of £27.6m (2020: loss before tax of £5.9m). The profit from trading, representing the profit excluding player related gains and charges, amounted to £7.0m (2020: loss of £0.3m). Period end net cash at bank was £25.6m (2020: £19.7m). The introductory page to these interim results summarises the key events in the period.

"The major factors driving the much improved financial performance for the period under review were: first, the return of fans to the stadium driving crucial match day income; second, our qualification for another season in the Europa League with the accompanying ticket sales that were absent last year; and third, the revenues received from successful player trading, notably the sales of Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer. In the same period we made substantial investments back into the player squad in order to target the football success that drives our financial success.

"Whereas the Covid-19 environment has improved markedly, the sudden emergence of the Omicron variant and resultant reintroduction of temporary societal restrictions in Scotland adversely affected the football sector. This demonstrates our continued sensitivity to the threat of the pandemic. Mindful of the risks posed to the Club’s finances from further restrictions, we continue to manage the business on a prudent basis, balanced against the benefits of investing in the football department. The forecast outturn for the second half of this financial year is expected to be more modest owing to the trading seasonality inherent in the business.

"As we know, most of our earnings are typically derived in the first six months of the financial year. In line with prior years, we expect to incur losses in the second six months of the financial year owing to the expectation of having less player trading gains, lower UEFA media right distributions and associated UEFA match ticket income, higher amortisation emanating from player acquisitions in January and seasonally lower retail income. In addition, our outturn earnings may be materially impacted by success in footballing competition. On the basis that the impact of Covid-19 appears to be receding at present, we anticipate to finish the financial year with revenues ahead of our previous expectations.

"It has been a period of transition for both the executive and the football department. Michael Nicholson’s appointment as Chief Executive was confirmed on 23rd December, along with Chris McKay’s promotion to Chief Financial Officer. And our Football Manager, Ange Postecoglou, joined us at the start of the season. Ange has been able to assemble a first-team player squad to fit his proven methodology of attacking football. We have achieved the permanent transfers of Osaze Urhoghide, Liam Shaw, Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi, Carl Starfelt, Joe Hart, Liam Scales, Josip Juranovic, James McCarthy and Georgios Giakoumakis. In addition, we welcomed to the Club two quality loan signings in Cameron Carter-Vickers and Joao Pedro Neves Filipe (Jota). Further to this, we added Daizen Maeda, Yosuke Ideguchi, Johnny Kenny, Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley over December 2021 and January 2022.

"As we progress through the season we are delighted to return to winning ways, securing the first silverware of the season, the Premier Sports Cup in December. This is the 20th time Celtic has won this trophy. December also saw us finish third in the Europa League group with a creditable nine points in what was a difficult group. We now enter the newly constituted Europa Conference League where we will play FK Bodo/Glimt. At the time of writing, we sit at the top of the Premiership with 12 games remaining and we have reached the fifth round of the Scottish Cup. We also note the progress which continues to be made by our women’s first team and in particular the magnificent achievement of winning the SWPL Cup in December 2021, the women’s team’s first trophy in over 10 years. We congratulate the players, Fran Alonso and his management team on this success and hopefully can look forward to further success in the near future.

"On behalf of the Board, I express my assured confidence in the football management team and the executive management team who collectively share many years’ experience in Celtic Football Club and who have worked tirelessly to restore our current position at the top of Scottish football. We are optimistic about the future.

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"Finally, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our supporters, our shareholders and our commercial partners. The support they offered over the last six months and beyond as we emerge from Covid-19 has been immeasurable as we have navigated the Club through this transitional period.”

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