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United announce reduction of gross debt

Manchester United have announced they have reduced their gross debt to £359.7 million, according to a release of their results for the first financial quarter.

The reduction is due to the 'retirement' of a further £62.6million-worth of bonds during the first financial quarter, the Premier League leaders said.

The club's big-money shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet has underpinned a 32.4% increase in sponsorship revenues for the club as commercial revenues rose by 24% to £43 million over the quarter and an overall profit of £20.5 million.

United estimate their overall income over the entire financial year to June 30, 2013 will reach between £350million and £360million.

In the last quarter alone, United entered into 10 sponsorship arrangements, including a £357 million deal with General Motors for the Chevrolet logo to be worn on their shirts for seven seasons from 2014.

Despite the reduction in the gross debt, the results are set to attract renewed criticism from sections of the club's support still opposed to the way in which the Glazer family have managed their leveraged purchase of the club, particularly as reports in the United States overnight indicated United were forced to disclose more financial information than they initially wanted when they launched their IPO in the summer.

United confirmed the 'exceptional item' of £3.1million related to professional advisor fees in connection with the IPO, while a dip in broadcast revenue over the period has been mainly attributed to the fact the club played only one home Champions League game during the period concerned compared to two 12 months ago.

"Manchester United had a record first quarter driven by our commercial operation, which continues to experience extremely strong global revenue growth in new media & mobile, retail merchandising and sponsorship," United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said.

"The team has also made a strong start to the 2012-13 season - currently 1st place in the Premier League and 1st place [and undefeated] in our Champions League Group."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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