Hicks and Gillett 'relaxed' about debt

05 June 2009 02:42
Liverpool's American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett may face some difficult decisions regarding their continued involvement at Anfield but the future of the club is not under threat. The pair have just over six weeks to agree a refinancing package on the loan they took out to buy the Barclays Premier League side in 2007. Accountants KPMG expressed concern over the level of debt being incurred by Kop Football Holdings, Liverpool's parent company, after it posted losses of £42.6million in the year ending July 2008. Most of that was a result of £36million of interest payments on a loan of £350million - which has to be renegotiated by July 24. However, suggestions Liverpool are facing financial meltdown have been dismissed by sources close to the American duo as "totally wide of the mark". The club itself posted profits of £10.2million but that was swallowed up by the huge interest payments of the parent company. "The owners seem remarkably relaxed about it, which can only be a good sign," an insider told PA Sport. "There is no threat to the club. Liverpool's profitability and profits are up. There are other clubs who are considerably more in debt than Liverpool are." Hicks and Gillett are confident they can refinance the loan in time for the July deadline. However, leading football financial experts believe in the long term they need a huge influx of cash from outside or they will have to sell up. In January Kuwaiti billionaire Nasser Al-Kharafi offered £425million for overall control but the Americans only want to sell 50% - which will prove a significant hurdle to further investment. "It is quite difficult but not impossible to get debt refinanced but it is absolutely not the ideal time to be negotiating debt positions," said Vinay Bedi, divisional director of investment management firm Brewin Dolphin based in Newcastle. "They wouldn't be short of banks to turn to but the bank would make it very much on their terms - all companies that have restructured their debt deals in the last few weeks have got very onerous restrictions."

Source: Eurosport