RANGERS have announced plans to raise up to £20million by floating its shares on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) of the London Stock Exchange.
Executives at the Irn-Bru Division Three side, which was plunged into financial chaos earlier this year following the liquidation of the “oldco” club, hope the move will help Rangers back to “glory days”.
Charles Green, chief executive and leader of the consortium which acquired the club’s assets, said the money raised would be invested in the development of the club as it aims to move through the tiers of the Scottish Football League and reclaim its top-flight place in the Scottish Premier League.
The club hopes admission to Aim can be completed by the end of the year to help improve facilities at Rangers and bolster playing staff once a transfer embargo is lifted.
In a statement, Rangers said the “institutional investor placing and limited public offering” would benefit the club in three ways: strengthening the squad, developing properties and facilities, and providing additional working capital.
In a move designed to encourage investor confidence, the statement notes that Rangers is “one of the world’s most successful clubs”, with innumerable titles to its name and “one of the highest percentages of season ticket-holders in the UK, with over 36,000 having been sold for the current season”.
It also points to the 51,000-seater Ibrox Stadium, Scotland’s only Uefa elite club stadium, as well as the “world-class”, 38-acre Murray Park training facility, emphasising that “the club has been a major force in Scottish football for decades”.
Mr Green stressed that Rangers was a “debt-free” institution, which was now under responsible management following the takeover of his consortium. The flotation, he added, would allow fans to play a key role in the club’s rebirth.
He said: “From the time we acquired the business and assets of Rangers FC, we indicated our intention to list the company and provide our fans with the opportunity to invest in their club. I am delighted that our plans are coming to fruition.
“Rangers is debt-free and a huge club with enormous support and a 140-year track record of success on the domestic and international arenas. Our aim is to return the club to its glory days, whilst ensuring it is run efficiently and profitably.”
Malcolm Murray, the club’s chairman, added: “Charles has done a great job to bring the club back from the brink of extinction. We now move on to the next stage, which is full recovery and growth. The fans’ loyalty has been instrumental in getting the club on its feet, and the IPO [initial public offering] gives them the chance to have a say on club matters.”
Financial director Brian Stockbridge insisted that Rangers was able to continue without the projected £20m, but said the money would bring its plans forward.
Fans intending to invest have been invited to come forward, and a registration of interest for the shares opened at 5pm yesterday.
In a briefing later, Mr Green said Rangers’ demotion to the lowest league of the SFL was a blessing in disguise, in that “it takes the pressure off and allows us the chance to let players mature”.