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Manchester United register rise in quarterly revenue, raise full-year profit forecast

The revenue rose despite the fact that United bowed out of the Champions League earlier this season

The Manchester United club logo is seen on a corner flag on the Old Trafford pitch ahead of the FA Cup fourth round replay soccer match against Cambridge United at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England, February 3, 2015. REUTERS/Phil Noble/Files
The Manchester United club logo is seen on a corner flag on the Old Trafford pitch ahead of the FA Cup fourth round replay soccer match against Cambridge United at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England, February 3, 2015. REUTERS/Phil Noble/Files

English Premier League soccer club Manchester United showed its commercial strength when it raised its core earnings expectations for the year as it posted a 26.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue.

The upgrade comes despite another mixed season on the field when United have failed to qualify for the knock-out stages of the lucrative European Champions League.

United said it expects adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 178 million pounds to 188 million pounds for the year, compared to its earlier outlook of 165 million to 175 million. The club, league winners a record 20 times and currently fifth in the Premier League, said revenue in the three months to Dec. 31 rose to 133.8 million pounds ($193 million).

United, majority owned by the American Glazer family, are currently six points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City.

Clubs need to finish in the top four of the Premier League to gain access to the Champions League in the following season.

Despite a tricky transition period since the retirement of manager Alex Ferguson in 2013, United's ability to grow revenues off the pitch has increased.

Commercial revenue in the quarter jumped 42.5 percent and broadcasting revenue rose by 31.3 percent. However, matchday income was down 1.6 percent.

The club's global appeal, which it says stretches to 659 million followers, continues to prove lucrative, with two sponsorship deals signed in the quarter.

United is to pay a quarterly dividend of $0.045 per share.

($1 = 0.6942 pounds)

(Reporting by Aastha Agnihotri in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely and Keith Weir)

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