Soccer-Champions Man Utd remain on course for financial targets

LONDON Thu May 2, 2013 7:29am EDT

LONDON May 2 (Reuters) - New sponsorship deals in Europe and Asia helped English soccer champions Manchester United to report a 23 percent increase in underlying profit in the three months to March.

United, who have just recaptured the English Premier League title, said they were on course to hit revenue and profit targets for their financial year, which runs to the end of June.

The club claims to have more than 650 million followers worldwide and has signed a series of local and international sponsorship deals to cash in on its global fame.

Revenues in the three months to March rose almost 30 percent to 91.7 million pounds ($142.6 million), with the commercial sector which includes sponsorship showing the strongest growth. Profit before charges such as interest and tax was ahead of forecasts at 25 million pounds.

Owned by the American Glazer family, United listed on the New York Stock Exchange last August.

Shares have recovered from an initial dip to trade at $18.41, up from a flotation price of $14.

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