Birmingham City FC are in line for a £7 million windfall from its Chinese parent group as a result of a share issue – and could possibly reap up to £25 million.
Parent company Birmingham International Holdings has announced a share issue which could raise millions for the Premier League club, it has been revealed.
But messageboard contributors raised fears over the financial status of the club owners just months after Birmingham International Holdings had warned they could be at risk of collapse due to excessive liabilities of around £35 million.
The fund-raising drive emerged as Blues’ owners announced losses of around £35.2 million for the 15 months to June 30 this year, with the St Andrew’s club running up net losses of £500,000.
Auditors warn that group liabilities exceed assets by around £28 million.
The parent group said gross proceeds from the new share issue will be $310 million Hong Kong (around £25 million after expenses).
It added: “The group is intended to use the net proceeds for general working capital and financial support to the operation of Birmingham City Football Club.”
Peter Knowles, of Leeds-based stockbrokers Park Square, said: “They have got an offer to raise £25 million after expenses, of which £7 million is already underwritten.
“My understanding is that they are going to raise around $300 million Hong Kong of which 25 per cent, which is around £7 million, is underwritten by the brokers Kingston Securites, who have a responsibility to go and find other people who are prepared to pay the price per share.”
But fans on messageboards raised concerns at owner Carson Yeung and his apparently diluted share stake in the group.
One said: “The whole business is mildly worrying. Is this whole share issue just to raise the promissory note to satisfy the FA?”
Another said: “It could also raise the question of how much money there really is going to be available for Blues to improve the squad and stadium.
‘‘And how can Carson make himself responsible for all decisions when only owning less than one eighth of Birmingham International Holdings/Blues.”
However, Mr Knowles said: “It does appear on the face of it that Carson Yeung has diluted his shareholding but we do not know who some of the other shareholders are.”
He said Blues’ finances were “relatively secure,” adding: “Provided that they get all the money in (through the share issue) Birmingham City is going to be relatively comfortable compared to some of its peers.”