Saturday, February 16, 2008

That'll Do Nicely...

A nice little surprise arrived in the post this morning (and it wasn't a late Valentine's card!), and has subsequently been confirmed on the official site -

Charlton plc announced this morning that it is seeking approval from shareholders to raise up to £20m through the issue of a new convertible bond.Shareholders will be asked to approve the issue of up to 66,666,667 convertible secured corporate bonds, each having a face value of 30p, at a general meeting of shareholders on March 10th. Some £14m of the proposed issue has already been underwritten by five existing Charlton plc directors - Richard Murray, Derek Chappell, Bob Whitehand, Sir Maurice Hatter and David Sumners.The total sum raised will be used to repay recent loans made by these directors to support the company following relegation from the Premier League, and to provide working capital for the company during the remainder of the current season.

Now, this money is not for new players, that much has been made clear, so fans should not expect to see David Villa or even Darren Bent coming to the club in the very near future.

It is to repay the loans that the clubs directors have made to tide things over during a somewhat "sticky" patch. A total of £11million was lent to the club, and through this raising of funds, that money can be now paid back to the directors.

Annoyingly, I read one poster on a website forum who claimed the directors are milking the club by offering these loans at over base rate interest rates. How wrong this comment is now shown to be...

The directors have all pledged that pretty much the equivalent of the loans they made will be invested in the bond (which can be converted to shares) issue, and therefore sums of around £14m have already been raised. Interest accrued from the loans will also be used to buy bonds.

The other noteworthy point from this mornings news is that the club are insisting that the only investors who can buy the rest of the bonds have to either be invited by them or are registered investors. So at present, we don't need to worry about the ownership of the club going elsewhere. There is also a minimum investment of £225,000, so us "normal" supporters don't really have an option to increase our shareholding.

Finally, and I doubt this will make much difference to fans on a day to day level, Richard Murray has stood down as Chairman on the PLC to become Chairman of the Football Club (taking over from Martin Simons). This is so he can work closer with Alan Pardew on football matters and leave strategy to new Chairman Derek Chappell.

Overall, we can now rest easy that we will have a football club to support next season, whether we get promoted or not...


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