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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Man Utd deal cuts interest bill
Members of the Glazer family
The Glazer family took over at United in summer 2005
Football giant Manchester United has confirmed a refinancing package which cuts annual interest payments by 28m.

A deal will see loan charges on sums borrowed by the Glazers to buy the club fall from 90m ($164m) a year to 62m.

As part of the restructuring plan, overall borrowings will rise from 580m to 660m, but the club reassured fans the moves were "good housekeeping".

US tycoon Malcolm Glazer bought United for 790m in 2005, but some fans said his financial plan was unworkable.

Stadium expansion

Also, as part of the financial shake-up, the 135m owed in the form of higher-risk payment-in-kind notes will no longer convert into equity.

That will release the club from the possibility of being run by bankers.

In the past year United's financial situation has improved as the club has signed a major new shirt sponsorship deal, with US insurance group AIG, worth 56.5m over four years.

At the same time the Old Trafford stadium capacity has increased to 76,000 and a new Premiership TV deal with BSkyB and Setanta will also swell its coffers.

At the time of the takeover the Shareholders United group said Mr Glazer had no chance of being able to repay the vast sums of money he needed to borrow to seal the deal.

Now the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), formerly Shareholders United, has pointed to the "colossal" difference between the amount of money required to service not just the interest payment but the actual debt itself, with the last recorded operating profit of 46m for the year ended June 2005.

'Sufficient funds'

The restructuring is seen as key to United as they look to bolster their squad to help them challenge for domestic and European honours.

The club said the changes now give manager Sir Alex Ferguson "sufficient funds to compete in the transfer market", at a time when he is eyeing up potential buys from disgraced Italian giant Juventus.

On and off the pitch, United have undergone a slight wobble during the past couple of years.

Earlier this year, a survey said that Real Madrid had leapfrogged Manchester United to become the world's richest football club in terms of income.

On the pitch, Chelsea have dominated the domestic league and United have failed to make an impression in European competitions.

Meanwhile, the Glazer family has increased its presence at United and there are now six members on the board.

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