Date: 26th February 2006 at 7:14pm
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The following is taken from, and contains details of Arsenal Holdings Plc and an Interview with Managing Director Keith Edleman.

Arsenal Holdings plc – Interim results for the six months ended 30 November 2005


Group turnover increased to £57.0 million (2004: £49.3 million).

Profits from sale of player registrations, inclusive of the transfer of Vieira, amount to £13.5 million (2004: £0.8 million).

Group’s profit before taxation increased to £14.7 million (2004: £2.7 million).

Emirates Stadium construction and fit-out continues to progress on schedule for an opening in summer 2006. More than 18,000 season tickets already allocated to supporters. All executive boxes are reserved and pre-sale of Club Level seating is 90% complete.

Successful launch of sales process for residential units in Highbury Square development.

The Group is working with Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland to progress plans for the refinancing of the senior bank debt used to fund the Emirates Stadium development into a longer term 25 year bond structure.
Commenting on the results for the half year Peter Hill-Wood, non-executive Chairman, said:

‘The Group has completed another successful period with our new home – Emirates Stadium – continuing to progress on schedule and the successful sales launch of our unique Highbury Square residential development. Overall the results show that the Group is in a very healthy financial position.’

Interview with Keith Edleman.

Managing director Keith Edelman spoke to after the Club announced its half-yearly accounts this morning.

What is your reaction to these figures?

I believe these results show the group has had another successful period. Our new home at Emirates Stadium is on schedule and the sales launch of the unique Highbury Square development has gone very well. Overall the group is in a very healthy financial position.

What is the reason for the increase in profits?

The group’s profit has been assisted by profit earned on the sale of Patrick Vieira.

Is the reduction in operating profit from £2.6m to £0.6m a concern?

No, I don’t think that is any concern whatsoever. We have incurred substantial extra costs this year relating to both the Emirates Stadium and the Highbury Square developments. Excluding these costs improves our operating profits.

How is the re-financing of the loan progressing?

We are working very hard to complete the re-financing. We’d like to think that we can do this by the end of the financial year. It does two things ? firstly, it reduces the interest rate that we pay and it extends the term. The effect of both of these means that will have more cash to spend on team development over the next 15 years. It is clearly an important part of what we are trying to achieve and that is to make Arsenal Football Club one of the leading Clubs in Europe.

How pleased are you with sales of Highbury Square development?

We are progressing extremely well. We released the South Stand in September and also now released units in the North and East Stand. We are pleased with our progress to date. We are not actually giving out sales figures yet. But I’d say it is ahead of programme at present.

We have completed sales promotion trips be travelling to the Far East and Ireland and will be travelling to the Middle East in the near future. We are seeking to access all areas where people are investing in the London property market.

The chairman’s report talks about an improved commercial performance and, in particular, the success of the redcurrant shirt.

The redcurrant shirt has been very popular. We thought we should do something special for the last year at Highbury. We decided to go back to our roots and use the same colour shirt that was worn in 1913 – the first season at Highbury. Sales are well up on previous years, although we will be walking out at Emirates Stadium in a red and white shirt.

The Executive Boxes are sold out but how are Club Level seats progressing?

The sales have gone extremely well. There are only a few Club Level seats left so we are encouraging people who want to come to Emirates Stadium and are at the lower end of the season ticket waiting list, to take the opportunity to buy Club Level seats. We recognise they are more expensive but they offer superb facilities and great views of the pitch. There are currently around 600 hundred Club Level seats left and we are confident we will sell out before the end of season.

What about the construction of Emirates Stadium?

We are on track. I feel the project has been managed well by Sir Robert McAlpine and ourselves, and we are all looking forward to moving to our new home.

How much does the Club’s financial performance affect Arsène Wenger’s transfer funds?

The whole purpose of our move to Emirates Stadium is to develop increased revenues so that they can be invested in the development of the team. This has always been the centre point of our financial strategy and I am pleased to confirm that we are very much on track.