Hearts reveal first profit in 11 years is £39,000

HEARTS have confirmed that they made a profit for the year ended 31 July 2010 - the first time they have done so since the turn of the century.

At 39,000, the amount is minor, and was only achieved thanks to a 7.9million investment from Ukio Bankas Investment Group (Ubig) and related bodies, but it nonetheless represents a significant improvement on the previous year, when a loss of 8.63m was recorded.

In addition to the Ubig investments, Hearts cut their wage bill by 13 per cent to 9.12m, and made a 12 per cent reduction in finance charges. Total revenue, however, was down slightly on the previous year, primarily because the team failed to match their third-place finish of the previous year, coming sixth.

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The club has continued to drive down wage costs, and expects to make further savings on other expenses. The accounts for the present year will also benefit from the 10m debt-for-equity agreement approved by shareholders late last year.

Hearts have interpreted the figures as a move in the right direction as they aim to comply with the forthcoming Uefa Financial Fair Play regulations, which start to come into operation next season, and stipulate that clubs must break even over the course of three seasons. The cuts to the wage bill they have made since last summer, including the removal of high earners Michael Stewart, Christian Nade, Jose Goncalves and Laryea Kingston, will be reflected in their next set of figures.

A statement on the club's website read: "The profit of 39,000 (2009: loss of 8.63m) is the first profit reported by the club in 11 years. As well as expected operational cost reductions, the club also expects further improvements in underlying financial performance in the current financial year with the exit, at the end of last season, of some of the club's higher earners. Financial figures will also be boosted in the next financial year with the inclusion of the 10m debt-for-equity plan approved by shareholders in November 2010.

"The board would like to register its continuing gratitude to the support shown amongst all our stakeholders including shareholders, supporters, business associates and sponsors. We will continue to work in the interests of the club at all times and will endeavour to bring success to the club both on and off field. We are also confident that the work we are currently involved in and the steps we are taking will deliver longer-term benefits for Heart of Midlothian Football Club."

Nonetheless, Hearts are still some distance away from being a viable business in their own right. They still have a multi-million-pound debt, and the only way they appear to have a hope of eventually eliminating it is through the continuing largesse of Ubig.