BCFC: Accounts Analysis

The accounts for both Birmingham City and it’s UK parent Birmingham City PLC have been made available at Companies House this week. Both sets of accounts are essentially the same (as BCFC is 100% owned by BC PLC and it’s sole asset) and paint a stark picture of how much trouble BCFC would be without the investment of Trillion Trophy Asia.

Birmingham City Accounts

The full accounts are available from Companies House at this link.

One of the key things to take from the accounts is how hard the club is hit by the end of the parachute payments.

2016 2015
Revenue £14,708,000 £21,049,000
Operating profit / (loss) (£5,084,000) £1,336,000
Staff costs £15,327,000 £14,126,000

Revenue dropped by £6.5million from the previous season despite average attendances rising from 16,111 to 17,571. Despite this staff costs went up to over 100% of turnover – and of course they’re only going to have gone up further this year as the club have gone for better players.

In fact, this figure would have been worse if not for the club making a £4.3million profit on transfers – the Demarai Gray sale being one of the things that kept the club on a more even keel.

The revenue break down is as follows:

2016 2015
Match receipts £4,161,834 £3,976,420
Broadcasting income £5,148,895 £12,408,209
Other commercial income £5,397,535 £4,663,816

Match receipts is made up of season tickets and match day tickets
Broadcasting income is made up of television and broadcasting income including distributions from FA broadcasting agreements, cup competitions and local radio
Other commercial income is made up of sponsorship income, corporate hospitality, merchandising, conference and banqueting and other sundry revenue.

I think accounts should deliver a reality check to the club’s situation. Match day tickets and season tickets don’t even cover a third of the £13,798,867 the club pays out in wages (without social security and pension costs). We talk glibly about there being an investment of £10million in player transfer fees alone this winter yet that represents two-thirds of the club’s income in a season. Suffice it to say, without the backing of Paul Suen and TTA the club would be incredibly serious trouble.

Is it any wonder that the auditors won’t sign off the club as a going concern?

Debt has gone up as well, with the amount owed to Birmingham International Holdings having climbed to £15.966million from £10.080million in 12 months.

The good news however is that funding for the club for the next 18 months without increasing debt has been secured thanks to the subscription agreements that brought TTA into power.

Interestingly, Blues also have liabilities of just over £3million in transfer fee contingencies. This has risen dramatically from £765,000 but I think is one of the things we shouldn’t worry about – if we have to pay money because we’ve been promoted the extra money from being a Premier League team should more than cover it.

What does all this mean in lay terms?

Essentially, we have to be careful what we wish for. I know people (including myself) want to see heavy investment in the team but that is a huge gamble. Of course, promotion would mean a hefty payout for the owners but failure to do so means another huge amount of losses to absorb.

I know people are angry at TTA for what’s happened with the whole Gary Rowett thing and I can understand that. However, I think people also need to be careful what they wish for – while Panos Pavlakis and the BCFC board might not be flavour of the month, the club are completely dependent on the money coming in from Hong Kong right now.

The sad thing is this is pretty much how football works these days. All we can hope for and push for right now is better communication from the owners and a better understanding of how they can get the most from the club.

 

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