RANGERS have agreed that their £1.5 million loan from Sandy Easdale and Laxey Partners could be repaid from the sale of season tickets for 2014-15.
The move, which is likely to further damage relations between the current board of directors at Ibrox and a significant proportion of the club’s support, has been published in documents lodged with Registers of Scotland, the country’s official land and property register.
When Rangers announced the loan late last month, they said repayment would come from “a variety of potential sources”. Section six of the “Inter Creditor Agreement” lodged with Registers of Scotland spells out what those potential sources are.
“6.1 The Borrower shall repay the Easdale Debt and the Laxey Debt on such Business Day as the Company has received clear funds in an amount equal to or exceeding the aggregate principal of all then outstanding Loans from
“6.1.1 the sale of season ticket monies for the 2014/15 football season or;
“6.1.2 a placing or rights issue or other form of debt or equity fundraising of the Company or any member of the Rangers Group; or
whichever is the first to occur and in any event by no later than 1 September 2015.”
That date for repayment differs by a year from the one given by Rangers when they announced the “short-term credit facilities”, and may be no more than a typographical error. Registers of Scotland staff were unavailable for comment last night.
“The principal amounts of the Facilities [ie the two loans] are repayable no later than 1 September 2014 from a variety of potential sources,” Rangers said on their website on 24 February. “The premium on the Laxey Facility is payable in cash or, at Laxey’s discretion, in ordinary shares of 1p each, at any point between the date of the facility agreement and the first anniversary of the date of the facility agreement.”
An issue of fresh shares, which would require the consent at a general meeting of the club, could in theory raise the cash to repay the loan, as could any other windfall. But Rangers’ agreement that new season-ticket money is a potential source of repayment will be enough to cause widespread disquiet. And there would be doubt about the viability of a rights issue so soon after the last one.
The loan – £500,000 from football board chairman Easdale and the balance from the investment group – is secured against Edmiston House and the Albion car park.
A “ranking agreement” stipulates that the two lenders should have the same rights to be repaid. While Easdale’s loan is interest-free, Laxeys stand to make a profit of £150,000. Laxeys are currently the biggest shareholders in Rangers with a stake of 11.64 per cent.
If the 2014-15 season-ticket money is used in this way, the Ibrox board will fail one of the conditions former director Dave King said supporters should set before agreeing to pass their season ticket cash on to the club. In a statement issued ten days ago, King urged fans to withhold their money unless Rangers could give satisfactory answers to the following questions:
“Will the board provide legally binding assurances that the club is a going concern and has sufficient funds and/or facilities in place for the 2014/15 season?
“Will the board undertake that none of the proceeds from season-ticket sales will be used to settle any financial obligation that arose prior to receipt of the season-ticket monies by the club?
“Will the board confirm that the club assets remain unencumbered? Will the board explain its previous statements that the club had sufficient cash resources to last until the end of the season?”
The use of season-ticket cash has been an especially sensitive issue at Ibrox since it was revealed that former owner Craig Whyte funded his takeover with money loaned to him by Ticketus. Whyte sold off four years of season tickets to the London-based company.