Manchester, U.K.-based Manchester United (NYSE:MANU) shares were dodging the U.S. stock market downturn today, rising a modest 1% in early Thursday trading after reporting fiscal Q1 2014 earnings that significantly exceeded analyst expectations.
Manchester reported earning 137 pence sterling -- about $2.19 -- per diluted share in Q1, versus Wall Street's anticipated $2.08. Revenues in the quarter came in at GBP98.5 million -- $157.8 million -- versus Yahoo! Finance's quoted expectation of $87.7 million. Free cash flow for the quarter was GBP19.1 million, or approximately $30.6 million, giving the stock a free cash flow yield of 19.4% -- below the company's trailing net profit margin, but superior to its operating profit margin.
Putting these numbers in context, Man-U explained that its revenues increased 29% year over year, hitting a new record. Sponsorship deals struck with companies such as Aeroflot and Bulova helped to drive the revenue growth, with sponsorship revenue charging ahead an impressive 63% in the quarter. Broadcasting revenues from the sale of television rights grew strongly as well -- up 41%.
Looking forward, Manchester United management predicts that this year's revenues could approach $689 million.