Hearts accounts: Costs rise but debt is reduced

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HEARTS have published their first set of annual accounts under new owner Ann Budge, showing a reduction in debt but a rise in operating costs as they re-establish themselves in Scottish football’s top flight.

The Edinburgh club emerged from a year-long administration in June 2014 with Budge in charge after she agreed to pay £2.5m for a Creditors’ Voluntary Arrangement. They won the Championship last year and are now back in the Premiership.

Budge’s tenure has seen Hearts’ net debt fall from £3.15million to £1.6m for the year ending June 30, 2015. Turnover rose by 0.47m to £7m during that period, and the club’s wage bill also increased by 0.9m to £3.8m. That comes as a result of greater staff numbers as Budge tries to grow the business and improve infrastructure at Tynecastle.

Hearts posted an operating loss of £680,000 during the year. The club have a total of £3.52m in funds through “cash at bank and in hand”. The fan group Foundation of Hearts contributed £1.47m throughout the year, and net cash inflow was £1.97m – largely due to a beneficial partnership with Save The Children.

A statement from the Hearts board said: “The company’s prudent budget and financial foundations allow us to confirm that we continue to meet UEFA’s Financial Fair Play criteria. Producing young players through our academy, who can develop into first-team players, continues to be a cornerstone of our business. The board would like to express its thanks to the employees, players, supporters, shareholders and other associates such as sponsors, commercial and community partners who continue to support the business.”

Hearts will hold their annual general meeting at 11am on Thursday, December 3, in Tynecastle’s Gorgie Suite.