Manchester United reduce debt to £359.7 million (€445.5m)

Flotation proceeds, transfer profits and several new sponsorship and operational deals saw the Red Devils cut their gross debt by 17 per cent and post a record first quarter
Manchester United have reduced their debt to £359.7 million (€445.5m) thanks to a rise in sponsorship revenues and lucrative, profit-boosting operational deals.

Since buying the club in 2005, the Glazer family have received a great deal of criticism for burdening the Old Trafford outfit with debt used to purchase the club.

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But the owners recently used the proceeds of the club's flotation on the New York stock exchange to pay off £62.6m (€77.9m)-worth of bonds.

Though broadcasting revenue fell 37.4 per cent, in part due to the Red Devils' early exit from the Champions League, total revenue increased 3.4% to £76.3m (€95m).

"Manchester United had a record first quarter driven by our commercial operation, which continues to experience extremely strong global revenue growth in new media and mobile, retail merchandising and sponsorship," said executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

"The team has also made a strong start to the 2012-13 season - currently first place in the Premier League and first place in our Champions League group."

Revenue from commercial operations increased 24.3% to £43m (€53.5m) thanks to 10 new sponsorship deals, the largest being the seven-year £357m (€443m) shirt deal with General Motors.