Rugger Guy watches Celtic interim report – Phil Mac Giolla Bháin
Amidst all this Six Nations stuff, my fellow egg-hunter cast his expert eye on the Celtic numbers.
As always, I am only the editor. So, see you on the other side.
Phil, I have carried out a financial review of the interim results of Celtic plc “Celtic” for the six months to December 31, 2021. As is always the case with intermediaries, there is no full publication of the results with full grades. The report is approximately 15 pages, which compares to more than 50 pages in the release of year-end figures.
Therefore, my review is not as detailed as possible.
However, there is enough information and disclosures to draw out the main features and make some observations.
In order to comment on the results, I will present the report in the following sections.
Contextualization of temporary workers.
A comparison with temporary workers last year and also in 2019 where there was less impact from the Covid.
Liquidity and cash flow.
Interims in context.
Celtic’s results for the six months to 31 December 2021 are still somewhat impacted by covid but are much closer to normalized trading. I’ll also show the 2019 interims as a slightly more comparable performance throughout.
The main takeaways are:
Revenue rose nearly 30% to £52.9m, from £40.7m last year and £53.3m in 2019.
Operating profit, before player swaps, was £7m compared to a loss of £0.3m last year and a profit of £11.5m in 2019.
Profit from player swaps was £25.8m compared to £1m last year and £23m in 2019.
Net cash at bank was £25.6m compared to £19.7m last year and £32.9m in 2019.
Overall, the end results are very positive. A recovery in operating profits and a very strong contribution from player exchanges, Edouard, Ajer and Christie notable contributors.
The policy of player development and resale to reinvest continues once again. Celtic bought 10 players and loaned 2 players in the first 6 months and invested a further £19m in the process.
The strong cash position of almost £26m puts the football club in a strong position for the second half where I am informed Celtic have spent between £6m and £7m on five more players. Moreover, there is always an operating loss in h2.
Comparison with interims from last year and 2019.
The breakdown of the revenue mix is as follows:
6 months to December 31 2021 2020 2019
£m £m £m
Football and stadium 23.6 12.6 27.0
Multimedia 14.0 13.0 15.1
Marketing 15.3 15.1 11.2
Total turnover 52.9 40.7 53.3
Revenues taking into account the Covid effect show a strong rebound in 2021, the trend should continue in the future.
Operating income 7.0 (0.3) 11.5
Profit (loss) before tax 27.6 (5.9) 24.4
Net cash at bank 25.6 19.7 32.9
Liquidity and cash.
Given the strength of the balance sheet, it is good to see Celtic once again enjoying a positive and strong working capital position. Simply put, this looks at current assets and current liabilities over the next 12 months. There is a surplus of £10.4m, compared to a deficit of £4.4m last year. Additionally, non-current assets (due after more than 12 months) on trade (mainly player trade receipts and payments) show a surplus of nearly £7m. Given that Celtic are said to have spent around £7m in the January transfer window, this once again demonstrates Celtic’s careful financial management.
Celtic spent almost £17m on player registrations in the first half, up from almost £13m last year, showing the degree of continued investment in player development.
Cash flow from trading, aided by player trading, was also good in the first 6 months of December. Almost £4m was generated compared to an outflow of £5.6m last year. In overall gross cash balances, this increased to £27.8m from £23.2m. Don’t forget that Celtic have £2.2m in loans. Also bear in mind that Celtic also have a £13million facility which could be used if needed. This has been in place for some time but has never been used.
Once again, Celtic were unsurprisingly given an unqualified audit report.
However, as is normally the case, management has indicated that an operating loss is likely to be incurred in the second half of the year. The main reasons given are lower player exchanges, lower UEFA media rights and match ticket revenue, and lower retail revenue. Celtic have made a very comprehensive investment in new players in the current financial year. Some 17 players are registered, including 2 on loan. Several player departures have also taken place and from a footballing point of view, in which I cannot add value, it looks like Celtic could have a successful year.
As I have been saying for several years now, the critical aspect of football club strategy is increasingly influenced by success in Europe. When Celtic achieve some form of European success there is less pressure to sell players to provide the necessary funding. The prospect of entering the Champions League group stages, I’ve been told, potentially guarantees £40m in extra revenue, so it’s obvious how much that influences things. In the meantime, Celtic had a net cash position of nearly £26m coupled with a facility of £13m, so once again the football club are in a strong financial position.
European success would be the icing on the cake and result in an even more impressive financial situation.
So here is.
Scotland’s richest club appear to be financially well managed.
The thing is, there’s now a manager in place who knows how to spend the money pretty well.
This could be a game changer in the future.