Arsenal Football Club has reported higher profits, with property sales proving almost as important as revenue from the football side of the business.
Arsenal Holdings said pre-tax profit rose to £45.5m in the year to 31 May, up from £36.7m from the previous year.
Revenue was £313.3m, with matchday revenue contributing £100.1m and the sale of 208 private apartments at Highbury Square bringing in £88m.
Arsenal also said manager Arsene Wenger had money to spend on new players.
Arsenal have only brought in two players, Andrey Arshavin and Thomas Vermaelen, in the current year. The club said the “limited” transfer activity was due to Wenger “rather than any necessity or financial constraint”.
“The 2008/09 season was not without footballing success, although the first team finished it without a trophy,” said chairman Peter Hill-Wood.
Football revenue rose to £225.1m, from £207.7m last year, which the club said was down to more matches as Arsenal reached the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and the Champions League tournament.
Matchday revenue exceeded £100m for the first time.
The club have chosen not to launch a rights issue to raise funds.
“Now that we have resolved any issues linked to the financing of Highbury Square, in the final analysis I believe it distils down to a decision about whether it is appropriate to raise money from shareholders to purchase the registrations and pay the wages of footballers,” said Hill-Wood.
“This is not something that Arsenal has ever done previously in its history and it would be at odds with our ethos of running the club as a business which is self-sustaining and pays its own way in the world.”
Players’ wages rose to £104m, from £101.3m in 2008.
“There continues to be significant upward pressure on players’ wage expectations and the activities of other clubs in the market and the introduction of the 50% income tax rate from April 2010 mean this looks set to continue,” Arsenal said.
After tax, the company reported a record profit of £35.2m, up 37% from last year.
Arsenal said that it had now sold 445 of the 655 private apartments in its Highbury Square redevelopment of its former grounds in North London. That has brought in £172.4m to the club so far.
The club sold striker Emmanuel Adebayor and defender Kolo Toure to big-spending Manchester City in the summer, but these deals took place in the current financial year.
“The board’s policy continues to be that all proceeds from player sale transactions are made available to Arsene Wenger for re-investment back into the development of the team,” the club said.