Spurs shares slide despite profit rise

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The Independent Online
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR, which owns the eponymous London football club, published a sparkling set of headline interim figures yesterday but saw its shares drop as investors looked more closely at the underlying figures.

The shares, which rose from 90p to 113p ahead of the results, fell back to 101p yesterday.

Spurs made pre-tax profits of pounds 3.3m in the six months to 30 November compared with pounds 810,000 last time. However, the picture is a good deal worse than last year if profits from transfer fees are ignored.

The total figures bear significant marks left by Paul Gascoigne, the star playmaker sold to the Italian club Lazio for pounds 5.5m.

In trading operations Spurs made only pounds 242,000, down from pounds 1.3m in the half-year to November 1991. Turnover in normal ongoing business dropped from pounds 7.4m to pounds 6.9m.

Overall turnover was pounds 15m against pounds 9.2m, boosted by pounds 8.1m from player transactions. Spurs profited from the sale of Gascoigne and Gary Lineker, the former England captain and striker, but the club also bought several less well-known players.

The company said it was suffering from lower attendances and revenues at its White Hart Lane ground because of the recession. The club is to spend pounds 2m on the ground to comply with the Taylor report on stadium safety.

The merchandising operation, which has caused Spurs financial difficulties in the past, 'is undergoing a complete reorganisation', the company said.

Earnings per share, which include profit from transfer fees, rose from 8p to 19.2p. There is no dividend.

Alan Sugar, Spurs' chairman and benefactor, who brought the club back from the brink of collapse in 1991, was not available for comment yesterday.

He is also chairman of the Amstrad electronics group and was equally uncommunicative when it released results earlier this week.