ARGYLE today lit the green touch paper for the redevelopment and expansion of the grandstand and new conferencing & banqueting centre at Home Park.
The development will, in large part, be financed by a £4.1m loan to the club from director Simon Hallett and his wife Jane. Co-owner Simon will also buy, for cash, 900,000 further shares in the club and Richard Holliday will buy 65,000 new shares.
In addition, all existing loans from shareholders Chairman James Brent, Tony Wrathall, and Simon Hallett will be converted into equity – reducing the overall debt levels of the club and so paving the way for Argyle to invest in redeveloping the New Mayflower and Conferencing Centre. All the revenues generated from these facilities will be owned by Argyle.
Supporters will be consulted about the plans for the redevelopment and expansion of the grandstand in a working-group to be set up by the club. No date has been set for the start or completion of the project, but James has previously said he would like a redeveloped grandstand to be a centre point of the city's 2020 Mayflower 400 celebrations and it is intended that work will start as soon as planning permission has been received.
In a club statement issued on Thursday, January 5, James heralded the announcement as “a further important and exciting milestone for Argyle”, which will “provide 21st century hospitality for our supporters and material additional revenues...to invest into the club and team.”
Echoing the Chairman’s sentiments, Simon said that the development would benefit Argyle supporters on match-days and “help provide the long-term revenue base for further investment in the team.”
The loan from Simon and Jane Hallett will be repaid, together with interest at a rate expected to be less than 3% per annum, over the next 30 years in equal instalments.
The full statement reads:
THE Board of Plymouth Argyle Football Club Limited (‘PAFC’) today announced that it has reached agreement with its shareholders for the issue of new shares and a long-term loan to refinance the existing shareholder loans and finance the redevelopment and expansion of the Grandstand for the club and a Conferencing and Banqueting Centre.
The announcement follows the issue of c. £1.7m of new shares to buy back Home Park from Plymouth City Council in October of last year.
Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed today, PAFC will issue a total of 3.081 million new £1 ordinary shares to existing shareholders as follows:
• £1,398,074 to companies indirectly owned by Mr and Mrs James Brent;
• £1,521,360 to Mr Simon Hallett;
• £97,000 to Mr Tony Wrathall.
• £65,000 to Mr Richard Holliday
Mr Holliday will also convert c. £100,000 of his Convertible Loan Notes into 100,000 shares.
The new share issue will be used to repay all the existing shareholder debt, which aggregates to £2.116m and to raise £965,000 of the funding required for the new grandstand.
In addition, Mr Simon and Mrs Jane Hallett have agreed to lend PAFC an amount of £4.1m. This loan, together with interest (at a rate which is expected to be less than 3% per annum), will be repaid in equal instalments over the next 30 years.
Upon completion of the transaction (and allowing for conversion of all the loan notes), the shares in PAFC will be owned as follows:
• companies owned by Mr and Mrs James Brent –50.1 %;
• Mr Simon Hallett – 41.9%;
• Mr Tony Wrathall – 2.9%;
• Mr Richard Holliday and associated family funds – 5.1% (assuming conversion of the remainder of his convertible loan notes).
Therefore, the club will have c. £7m of shares in issue, an additional £965,000 of cash and no shareholder loans other than the new facility, which is being made available to fund construction of the redeveloped and expanded Grandstand.
PAFC will soon begin consultation with its supporters on plans for the Grandstand and Conference Centre, 100% of the revenues from both of which will be owned by PAFC.
An invitation is being issued today for fans to submit their resumes to join a working group to consult with the club on the development of these plans.
Argyle Chairman James Brent said: “Today is a further important and exciting milestone for Argyle, as we continue to move from the last chapter of recovery to a new one of significant and sustainable improvement.
“The re-development and expansion of the Grandstand and new Conference Centre will provide 21st century hospitality for our supporters and material additional revenues – match-day and non match-day – to invest into the club and team. We will increase the attendance capacity for today and preserve the ability to further increase in the future.
'The other members of the Board and I thank Simon and his wife, Jane, for all that they have done for Argyle and for the further major investment they are making.”
Director Simon Hallett said: “Jane and I are delighted that we can support Argyle in this way and help provide improved facilities for our supporters, players and staff.
“The investment by the club will not only make for a better match-day experience, but help provide the long-term revenue base for further investment in the team.”
The Board wishes the Green Army and team a safe and fruitful trip to Anfield on Sunday.