BLACKBURN Rovers are now more than £100m in debt despite cutting their annual losses by more than half.

The release of the club’s annual accounts to shareholders show that it posted a pre-tax loss of £17.2m for the 2014-15 campaign.

That is down £24.9m on the £42.1m pre-tax loss announced for the previous season (2013-14) which led to Rovers being placed under a Financial Fair Play embargo.

But closing net debt at the year ending June 30, 2015 increased from £79.8m to £104.2m.

Most of that staggering amount is owed to Venky’s.

Rovers owe their owners £87m in the form of an interest free-loan which has no fixed date for repayment.

India-based Venky’s as in previous years have confirmed they will provide sufficient funding to support the club for the 12 months following approval of the accounts.

The accounts also show:

  • Turnover was down to £22.4m from £30.4m (2013-14) after an £8.8m drop in media income attributable mainly to the reduction in parachute payments following the club’s relegation from the Premier League in 2012.
  • There was a £1m increase in matchday revenue, arising from Rovers’ run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, but a £200,000 drop in commercial income.
  • Wages were down to £26.9m from £34.5m (2013-14) but the wage to turnover percentage rose from 113.5% (2013-14) to 133.8% due to the decrease in turnover.
  • Other operating expenses were down to £11.6m from £19.8m (2013-14).
  • Payments to achieve player disposals were down from £6.6m (2013-14) to £300,000.
  • Profit on the sale of players, mainly Tom Cairney, totalled £3.5m.

Derek Shaw, who has since left his position as the club’s managing director, said in the accounts: “2014-15 has been, on the whole, another season of rebuilding and strengthening in many areas of the club, all of which will provide the foundations to move forward back to our goal of returning to the Premier League.”

The accounts, which were signed off in November, state that since the year ending June 30, 2015 the club entered into transfer agreements to net fees of £7.8m in that five-month period.

That included the sales of Rudy Gestede and Josh King which, along with the decision taken by Venky’s in November to turn £3m of their loan into shares, enabled Rovers to exit their Financial Fair Play embargo in January.

New boss Paul Lambert was then allowed to bring in seven players – five on deals until the end of the current campaign – during the transfer window.

The accounts do not take into account any money spent on or raised by transfers since July 1. That will be included in the 2015-16 accounts.

Since the accounts were signed off Rovers sold top-scorer Jordan Rhodes to Middlesbrough in a deal which could rise to £11m, reigning player of the year Markus Olsson to Derby County in a deal which could hit £1m, and Fode Koita to Turkish top-flight outfit Kasimpasa for around £240,000.

The 2014-15 accounts, which have been sent out to shareholders, will soon be lodged with Companies House for public viewing.

Shareholders will be invited to meet the club’s board of directors in July.