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Paul Pogba of Manchester United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England.

Michael Regan | Getty Images

The parent firm of famous soccer club Manchester United announced third-quarter operating profits of £14.2 million ($18.1 million) Thursday, a rise of 94.5% from the same period last year despite a challenging season in the English Premier League.

Revenue generated by Manchester United PLC in its most recent results was £152.1 million, which was down almost £56 million on the previous quarter, but almost £15 million more than the same period last year. Net profit saw a rise of 11.6% to £7.7 million for the same period last year.

“After a turbulent season, everyone at Manchester United is focused on building towards the success that this great club expects and our fans deserve” said Ed Woodward, executive vice chairman, in earnings statement.

The club is sticking to its forecast for the year to June 30 even as it posted a drop in third-quarter core earnings. It’s also hurt by a hefty wage bill on members of its playing squad including Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba and has seen total wages for the first-team squad increase by 12.9%.

“Preparations for the new season are underway and the underlying strength of our business will allow us to support the manager and his team as we look to the future,” Woodward went on to say.

A sixth-placed finished to the Premier League season, which included a final-day defeat to already relegated Cardiff City meant Manchester United will not play in the Champions League next season. Its absence from Europe’s top club competition could have a bearing on player recruitment in the summer, as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer starts an overhaul of the playing staff.

The club has maintained commercial success with several global partners, despite changing manager four times since 2014 and has recently signed a new deal with Marriott Hotels. However, commercial revenue for the quarter was £66.6 million, which was unchanged from the prior year quarter.

Matchday revenue at its 75,000 capacity Old Trafford stadium for the quarter was £31.7 million, an increase of £0.6 million, or 1.9%, over the prior year quarter.

Broadcasting revenue for the quarter was £53.8 million, an increase of £4.4 million, or 8.9%, over the prior year quarter, primarily due to the new Champions League broadcasting rights agreement and playing one additional Premier League game.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the three months to March 31 came in at £41.2 million, down from £45.7 million a year earlier, the club said Thursday.

The 20-time English champions continue to expect revenue of £615 million to £630 million and adjusted EBITDA of £175 to £190 million for the whole of its fiscal year.

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Apple’s earnings would drop by nearly 30% if China bans its products

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Tim Cook, Apple CEO

John Chiala | CNBC

The U.S.-China trade war could take a big chunk out of Apple‘s bottom line if China retaliates by banning its products, according to an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Analyst Rod Hall said in a note to clients that Apple’s earnings could drop by 29% if the company’s products were banned in mainland China.

Apple’s China business accounted for more than 17% of its sales in its fiscal second quarter, coming in at $10.22 billion. The company also sells billions of dollar worth in iPhones every year in China.

“Should China restrict iPhone production in any way we do not believe the company would be able to shift much iPhone volume outside of China on short notice,” Hall said. “We believe that Apple is near its annual rapid ramp of new iPhone production to prepare for new device launches in the Fall so even a short term action affecting production could have longer term consequences for the company.”

Hall also noted that China’s “tech ecosystem” and local employment could take a hit if Apple products are banned. Most of Apple’s supply chain rests in mainland China, including the iPhone’s final assembly, which is executed at Foxconn.

Apple shares are down 7% for the month through Tuesday’s close as China and the U.S. ratchet up trade fears. The U.S. hiked tariffs on $200 billions worth of Chinese goods earlier in May. China retaliated by raising levies on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports.

Hall is not the only analyst raising concern over Apple’s exposure to China. On Monday, HSBC analyst Erwan Rambourg cut his price target on the tech giant to $174 per share from $180. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse analyst Matthew Cabral said Tuesday that Apple’s earnings per share would fall by about 15 cents a share for every 5% drop in Greater China sales.

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England will ban plastic stirrers, straws and cotton swabs from 2020

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saulgranda | Moment | Getty Images

A ban on plastic drinks stirrers, straws, and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs will come into force in England next April.

“Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment,” Environment Secretary Michael Gove said in a statement Wednesday.

“These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life,” he added.

The ban follows on from a consultation which found that more than 80% of respondents supported a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws, with 90% backing a ban on drinks stirrers and 89% in favor of a ban on cotton swabs. The consultation ran from October 22, 2018 to December 3, 2018, and had 1,602 respondents.

Outlining details of the ban, the U.K. government said there would be exemptions to make sure that people with a disability or medical requirements could continue using plastic straws.

In practice, this means that while restaurants and bars will not be allowed to display plastic straws or “automatically hand them out” they will be able to provide them upon request.

Another exemption will apply to the use of plastic-stemmed cotton swabs for “medical and scientific purposes” where such items are “often the only practical option.”

The CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, Hugo Tagholm, said the charity welcomed the ban. “Stopping the production and distribution of these single-use plastic menaces will prevent them from polluting beaches nationwide,” he added. “It’s a really positive and bold step in the right direction in the battle against plastic pollution.”

Several major businesses are already looking to move away from using plastic in their stores. Fast food giant McDonald’s is rolling out paper straws to stores in the U.K. and Ireland, while upscale supermarket Waitrose now only offers paper straws in its cafes.

The issue of plastic pollution is a big problem. Europeans produce 25 million tons of plastic waste per year, according to the European Commission. Less than 30% of this is collected for recycling.

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Twitter exchange with Elon Musk lands a British man a job at Tesla

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Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla, addresses a press conference in Beijing on October 23, 2015.

ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images

Tesla has hired a British man behind a viral tweet that caught the attention of Elon Musk last month.

Adam Koszary, who engineered a viral Twitter exchange between Musk and an English museum, will begin a new role as Tesla’s social media manager in July.

Back in April, Koszary, the digital lead for the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), tweeted a photo of a ram with the caption: “Look at this absolute unit.”

The picture has been liked more than 100,000 times to date – and its popularity really took off when Elon Musk used the image as his own profile picture on Twitter.

“I’m an absolute unit too,” he said in a tweet, temporarily changing his Twitter bio to “absolute unit.”

In response, the MERL switched its own picture for one of Elon Musk, sparking an ongoing exchange between the two accounts.

Koszary, who had been due to start a new job at the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Arts (RAA), announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he had instead accepted a role with Tesla.

“I’m no longer moving to the Royal Academy. Instead, I’ll be Tesla’s Social Media Manager from July,” he said.

The RAA said in a tweet on Tuesday that it was “very sad that the lovely and talented Adam now won’t be joining us, but know he’ll do a great job at Tesla.”

A spokesperson for Tesla was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.



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