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Manchester United 2nd-quarter profit falls

NEW YORK (AP) -- Manchester United's second-quarter profit dropped 62 percent as the world-renowned soccer club took a tax charge compared with a tax credit in the prior-year period.

Its performance missed Wall Street's expectations, and the stock dropped more than 3 percent in early trading Thursday.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Manchester's income from continuing operations was 16.2 million pounds ($25.1 million), or 10 pence per share (16 cents). That compares with 42.1 million pounds, or 27 pence per share a year earlier.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a profit of 26 cents per share.

The current quarter included a tax charge of 12.2 million pounds ($18.9 million). The year ago period included a tax credit of 22.9 million pounds.

Revenue climbed 9 percent to 110.1 million pounds ($170.7 million) from 101.3 million pounds a year ago.

Wall Street predicted $175.4 million in revenue.

U.S. shares of Manchester United PLC declined 11 cents $18.60. The company went public in August, opening at $14.05. They traded as high as $19.34 last Friday and as low as $12 in September.

Sponsorship revenue rose 48.6 percent to 20.8 million pounds ($32.3 million). The company received a new eight-year sponsorship deal for its training kit rights during the quarter.

Staff costs climbed 14.2 percent mostly because of new player signings, higher wages for players and an increase in commercial headcount.

Total operating expenses rose 4.6 percent to 73.2 million pounds ($113.5 million).

Manchester United is one of the most well-known sports teams in the world. It has many fans in Asia, where its games are televised and its replica shirts and other products are huge sellers.