As Liverpool Football Club releases its latest financial figures, managing director Ian Ayre discusses a range of issues relating to the figures.
Can you tell us why these financial results are only for 10 months rather than a full year?
Within this period we made an executive decision that we wanted to align our accounting period with the months that coincided with the season. What we previously had was a situation where the season would finish and everything would stop in football terms, but our financial year would carry on until just before we started playing football again. It made the most sense that you finish the season and everything finishes at that point - so we aligned the accounts in line with that and that chopped off a couple of months at the end of the year. That's the reason for a 10-month period.
If we start with turnover, or revenue, it has increased by £5million. Why is that and what parts of the business are generating revenue?
If you think of the period that this concerns - in that year we didn't play in European competition but we had great success in both domestic competitions. That made up some of the revenue and, in addition, areas like our commercial partnerships grew significantly. Other areas contribute - media, matchday - all coming from different areas of the business. It's good to see that even in a year where we have a downturn in fortunes by not playing European football, we can bolster our revenues by performing in other areas. It's a great testament to the people behind that.
Deloitte, the independent finance company, produces an annual league table of European football clubs' revenue. Where do Liverpool sit in that table compared with other top clubs?
It moves around each year. I believe in the most recent issue of that we were ninth. What's interesting about that is that of the top 10 clubs, we're the only club that isn't playing in the Champions League. It's a great indicator of the strength of our revenue and turnover comparative to other teams. It bodes well for where we believe we're heading. If we're heading for Champions League-type football and revenues, having strong revenues before you get there is very important because it supports us in those years when we're not performing at that level. It bodes well for the future.
The results show that Fenway Sports Group injected £46million into the club during the period with a 'non-interest bearing loan'. What does that mean and why was it needed?
Probably people can remember from some time back that we've historically had a long-standing and developing stadium cost - money we've invested to date in our project whether it be around a new stadium or our plans to stay at Anfield. The view generally was that we would be better off servicing that cost that we'd created by taking it out of our existing facilities and taking a loan from the parent company which is interest free. It's another great example of the ownership investing in the club and making the club better off day-to-day financially.
Free video: Ian Ayre discusses the financial results
Can you explain why net debt has increased and there is an exceptional cost of £9million?
Net debt comes largely as a result of our activity around player trading. As we've been doing for several years now, we are trying to change our team, invest in our team and improve our team. That has a cost, which creates debt. Also, importantly, we've done it in a frugal way and a way that is the right contracts with the right sort of delivery points both for players and clubs that we're buying from. It's important that we have that sort of prudent approach as we want to create sustainability for the club. [The exceptional cost] would be a mix of things - so stadium project costs would be sucked up in that, changes in senior management and other senior employees that have left the club. It's a catch-all for all of those areas and something that appears in that year's accounts and doesn't come in future.
The club has also refinanced its credit facilities with three major banks. Does that provide financial stability going forward?
Yes and it's important. Those facilities were actually refinanced ahead of the transaction we just talked about, where the owners invested money to bring down the facility. The facility we initially created, the refinancing that took place, was £120million. About £40million of that was the existing stadium debt that we just talked about, then a further £80million or so that's really like working capital for the business. The reason that you need that in a football club is if you can imagine that we go into a transfer window at the end of a season and we might need to buy a player or make some other large transaction, and our real revenues don't come in until we sell our season tickets, until we bring in sponsorship revenues. So it's kind of like a facility that allows us to operate as a business and gives us that bandwidth to be able to do the business that we need to do. It's great to have that locked down for three years; it's an important part of doing business and we have a good and strong relationship with our banks to be able to do that.
What was the player activity during the period concerned?
The period concerned would relate to players like Jose Enrique coming in, Sebastian Coates and some younger players. There was a period within that time that we renewed with Steven Gerrard and a couple of others. As importantly, we brought some scholars up to professional contracts and we've seen in more recent times bringing great players through from Academy level to the first team is important. Continuing to invest in all areas - investing in new players, investing in renewal of contracts for the captain and people of that ilk and then, in addition, investing further into our youth.
As these results are fairly out of date now, can you bring us up to date with the highlights across the club since the end of May 2012?
Everybody has seen and our fans will have seen that we've continued to invest in the squad. We made changes again within that period to the management and coaching team, with Brendan and his team coming in in the summer. Since then we've had a mix again of new players coming in across the summer and the January transfer window. We've also seen continued upturn in our commercial fortunes. Warrior commenced as our new kit supplier, which is a significant improvement on our previous deals. We've had record sales of their products throughout this year. We've also seen new sponsors come on board, notably Chevrolet and Garuda Airlines. This is part of where we're trying to go - it's about continuing to expand our horizons. Garuda is a great example, coming in from Asia, a world-class airline giving us additional revenue and additional opportunity. We've also invested in our digital programme and more recently established Twitter feeds in local language in various countries. That shows that we're reaching out and preparing to continue our growth. That all bodes well for the future because as we grow and become more successful, having those elements that help us reach out around the world are most important - whether it's an international sponsor or whether it's an international link to our fans through social media. They're very important tools and we continue to invest in that. It's pleasing to see that they continue to improve our revenue streams.