Hibernian lose £1.9m but car park sale cuts debt to £10m

HIBS have announced audited losses of £1.9million for the last financial year but cut their overall debt by £4.5million thanks to the sale of their car park.

Despite the figures showing a 278,000 increase in losses on the previous year, several key positives, particularly substantial improvement of the wages to turnover ratio from 72 to 57 per cent, gave the figures an optimistic glow. The ratio is within the 60 per cent ceiling recommended by accountants Deloitte and Touche.

The more modest deficit of the previous year was only achieved through the combined sales for 1.7m of Ulises De La Cruz to Aston Villa and Ulrik Laursen to Celtic.

Overall debt now stands at 10million from 14.5million the previous 12 months, following the parent company’s sale of former car park land behind the East Stand for around 6m.

Managing director Rod Petrie feels the long-term picture shows significant progress, but is aware more hard work must be done to reach break-even.

"In 2001/2002 our wage costs stood at 5.7million," said Petrie. "Last year it was 4m and this year it was 3.3m.

"This demonstrates the degree to which we have tackled the issue of falling revenues in football, earlier than many clubs, and our wages to turnover ratio stands scrutiny with any other club in Scottish football and perhaps further."

In the accounts to 31 July 2004, turnover was up five per cent from 5.5m to 5.8m, thanks largely to the run to the CIS Cup final in March.

The benefits of that Hampden showcase were off-set by crowds at Easter Road falling to an average of 9,137 under Bobby Williamson and the club finishing in the bottom half of the league for the second year.

• Scottish Football League clubs have been given the go-ahead to sign four players outside the transfer window. FIFA has agreed to the request that SFL clubs be allowed two ‘joker’ registrations - permanent transfer or on loan - during each closed transfer period.

The ruling only applies to domestic football within Scotland, and international transfers are not included. This does not apply to Scottish Premierleague clubs.