September 21, 2006

Ar$enal in $hitload of $$$ Owings!

As a (boring) banker, this news somehow intrigued me.

In a nutshell, the whole financing package that Arsenal FC took up is this: -

1. Total borrowings = GBP385 mil (at fully drawn amount) or approx RM2 bil
2. Financing Period = 25 years (or so it says in the reports)
3. Repayment = GBP15 mil per annum (roughly its 385m/25 yrs)
4. Collateral = The Emirates Stadium
5. Primary Source of Repayment = Operational cash flow from gate collections
6. Secondary Source of Repayment = Income from Highbury apartments (to be completed in 2011)

As an unbiased, risk-adverse and responsible bank officer, my first thoughts were...

From the point of view of the Bank, how can you lend the entire GDP of the country of one of Arsene Wenger's new signing's birthplace... And with such a long repayment tenure??

From the point of view of the Club, does LEEDS UNITED mean anything to you???

Well upon further analysis, it appears that the said Mental Financial Institution has got it all planned out with two clearly identified take out sources in the form of gate receipts and sales from the luxury apartments (which should sell, given the prime real estate in that area).

And of course the big boss, Keith Edelman insists that the club is fine, gate collections are sky high, we can even afford to be relegated and still pay off blah blah blah... But trust me, I've heard this song and dance routine by so many customers before.

Everything is hunky dory until something "beyond their control" happens. On the contrary to Mr. Edelman, I think non-qualification of Champs League or even relegation will amount to significant losses of income, which would reduce our transfer warchest. The lack of quality players coming in would then result in a deterioration of our game which may ultimately lead to a drop in gate collections (due to fairweather fans).

The best solution for banker/club/fans? :-

1) Pray for Arsene's long life and well being over the next 25 years.
2) A drop in interest rates (hah!)
3) Higher disposable income in UK, in case the Club needs to revise its ticket prices higher.

and last but not least...

4) Hire me as Arsenal FC's FC (Arsenal Football Club's Financial Controller. Haha. Farnee)

Are you sleepy now?

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