THE administrator of Hearts claims news that UBIG has been declared insolvent by a Lithuanian court is “positive” for the club’s survival hopes.
Bryan Jackson of administrators BDO claims the move will allow negotiations over securing the Kaunas-based bank’s shares in the club to progress.
UBIG – which owns a 50 per cent share in the Tynecastle outfit and is owed £10million by the club – had its assets frozen earlier this year but administrators have yet to be appointed.
However, that process can now get under way following the decision – although Jackson claims a final outcome is still some way off. He said: “It’s positive news for the club. At least the appointment of an administrator can now be made. Unfortunately, this is just the start of the process. From what I’m told by people in Lithuania, an appeal may be lodged and that can take up to ten days. The initial timescale that I have been given is that it could take a number of weeks before we get a final resolution.
“However, the signs are good because we are finally getting to a point where the ownership of the shares will be resolved and we can start negotiations in the meantime.”
BDO was appointed by the club last month and it hopes to find a new buyer for the club and settle their debts by way of a Company Voluntary Arrangement. It is in the process of selecting a preferred bidder.
Three parties have submitted formal offers and proof of funding to BDO – supporters’ consortium the Foundation of Hearts, HMFC Limited and Five Stars Football Limited.
As well as the money owed to UBIG, Hearts are £15million in debt to another Kaunas-based firm – Ukio Bankas – which, like UBIG, was once controlled by former club owner Vladimir Romanov. However, the bank – also in the hands of administrators – has a 29.9 per cent shareholding in Hearts and holds a floating charge on Tynecastle as security on its debts.