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Volume 6 No. 211


Scottish Premier League Hibernian FC Chair Rod Petrie Tuesday "issued a 'call to arms' to lapsed supporters after the club posted a financial loss for the second year running," according to Anthony Brown of the SCOTSMAN. Turnover for the fiscal year '11-12 was £6.9M ($11M) (down £100,000 ($160,000)), "while the loss before taxation was unchanged from the previous year" at £900,000 ($1.4M). The figures relate to a season when Hibs "battled relegation for the second year running, while also changing manager again, with Pat Fenlon replacing Colin Calderwood." Club chiefs, however, "are far from alarmed by the club’s overall financial predicament," and Petrie insisted that, "if Hibs could get their average attendances back up to the 12,000 mark, they would be in a strong position to prosper at a time when many clubs in Scottish football are battling to make ends meet." However, with gate money "considered the biggest factor in determining the club’s annual budget, Hibs revealed a desire to grow attendances by around 2,000 per home game from present levels." Petrie wrote in a letter to shareholders, "Every season we need the positive engagement and financial contribution by supporters to provide an annual budget" (SCOTSMAN, 11/20). The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported "staff costs fell by £700,000 ($1.1M) to £4.1M ($6.5M), resulting in a wages to turnover ratio of 60%, which itself was down from 69% for the previous year." Petrie said: "The financial results for the year reflect the poor performances on the pitch almost throughout the season." Hibs finished second bottom last season, but "results have improved so far this term, and they sit second in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, a point behind champions Celtic" (DAILY RECORD, 11/20).

Chinese sports apparel company Li Ning CEO Jin-Goon Kim said that the brand "is now in the midst of a major overhaul," aiming to increase "its China market share by as much as 40% in the next two years," according to Laurie Burkitt of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The ambitions "come at a rocky time for the company: Li Ning has brought on four new senior execs since replacing its CEO in July." First-half profit "was down 85% from a year earlier, with revenue off 10% to 3.88B yuan ($621.6M)." The company "has closed nearly a thousand stores this year, as its share price has fallen 35%." Now, "scaling back its plans for global domination in athletic shoes and apparel, the brand is embarking on a three-year transformation program to win a bigger slice on the home turf and improve profitability." Kim said that the Beijing-based company's goal "is to win the mass market in China by targeting consumers moving to big cities from the countryside." Kim said, "We want to be the leading brand in China, as opposed to the leading brand here and overseas." China Market Research Group senior analyst Ben Cavender said much of Li Ning's problem is that "it has waffled between positioning itself as a premium and a low-end brand." Cavender said that "business strategy will matter more than brand positioning" (WSJ, 11/20).

Despite its on-field success, German 3rd League football team VfL Osnabrück "is in deep financial trouble," according to NWZ ONLINE. The team recently presented its financial numbers of the '11-12 fiscal year in which it generated another loss of €926,000 ($1.2M). Should the intended outsourcing of the club's professional first team fail, the club "would most-likely have to cease operations." Only if the city helps the cash-strapped club, which has a debt of about €9M ($11.5M), "an insolvency could be avoided." City politicians demand that the club "passes a resolution at its member meeting on Dec. 9 that would outsource its professional first team." Only then, the city would pay around €7.6M ($9.7M) for the club's stadium and lease it to the club. To pass such a resolution the club "needs a three-quarter majority of votes, which is all but certain" (NWZ ONLINE, 11/20).