Morecambe Football Club’s latest year-end accounts show a £574,507 after-tax loss for the year ending May 31 2016.
This is an improvement on the previous set of annual accounts which showed a loss of £872,291.
The accounts for the 2015/2016 season, published this week, do not cover last season (2016/17), when Morecambe FC suffered a cash flow crisis during an ownership battle which ended up in the courts.
During this time players and staff were paid late on three separate occasions.
But Morecambe FC, which is up for sale, has stabilised since then with help from Abdulrahman Al-Hashemi, a businessman from Qatar, who has been putting money in to the club.
Mr Al-Hashemi, the club’s beneficial owner, has signed a two-year agreement with the Football League to underwrite any losses made by the Shrimps until the end of the 2018/19 season.
The club directors’ strategic report, published with the 2015/16 accounts, says financial losses are “expected to continue to diminish”.
“Whilst this is a loss, this represents an improvement in matters and demonstrates the board’s endeavours to move towards to move towards break-even are approaching fruition,” says the report.
It also says the club “has been reliant on the support of directors in providing loans to maintain the cash flow of the business”.
Operating loss for the year also improved from £812,777 in 2014/15 to £598,544.
Turnover was £2,471,242, up from £2,307,152, due partly to the sale of star striker Jack Redshaw to Blackpool.
Turnover is broken down into football income (ie ticket sales and player transfers) of £1,435,941, up from £1,224,225; club shop income of £75,976, up from £62,737; corporate income of £114,136, down from £194,947; hospitality income of £775,587, up from £720,412; and other income of £69,602, down from £104,811.
Directors’ pay was £40,400 for the year.
Staff wage costs, including pensions and social security, was £1.99m, down from £2.06m in 2014/15.
The number of employees at the Globe Arena had reduced from the previous year from 87 to 84.
Fixed assets were worth £7.8m and creditors were owed £3.7m.
Rod Taylor, Morecambe director, said a lot of this money had already been paid back and this would be shown in the 2016/17 accounts, due to be published soon.
The report says: “The club’s bankers have indicated they will maintain their support at current levels whilst the club is for sale, but should no sale be agreed, discussions will be held around reducing the debt through budget surpluses and any available exceptional income streams.”
G50 Holdings Limited has acquired 82 per cent of the club’s shares.
G50 was set up last year by Durham tax consultant Graham Burnard on behalf of Brazilian businessman Diego Lemos.
Mr Lemos was unveiled as club owner in September 2016 after G50 bought former owner and club chairman Peter McGuigan’s controlling stake in Morecambe FC.
But after Mr Lemos disappeared from the club in November without investing in the Shrimps as promised, Mr Burnard – representing Mr Al-Hashemi- fought him in the courts over the ownership, a fight he won in May 2017.
Since then Mr Al-Hashemi has been listed as beneficial owner of Morecambe FC with Companies House.
The accounts also say that the club gave a £500,000 plus costs and interest guarantee to Mr McGuigan over the purchase of his shareholdings by G50 and to ensure the company invests in the club.
This represents “a contingent liability”, says the report.