Ibrox cash reserves plunge

Rangers chairman David Somers has admitted that "material uncertainty" over season ticket income may cast doubt about the club's ability to continue as a going concern, as the Ibrox outfit announced its cash reserves fell by more than £17.5million last year.

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Rangers announced a loss of £3.7million in the seven months up to the end of 2013, an improvement of 50 per cent on the same period 12 months earlier.

But they had just £3.5million cash on December 31, despite bringing in £22million in an initial public offering (IPO) share issue just over a year earlier.

The main Rangers supporters' groups recently raised the possibility of drip-feeding season-ticket money to the club via a trust fund amid continuing distrust over the board's ability and intentions.

And the club, who recently arranged loans totalling £1.5million from two shareholders, admits that casts a shadow over the club's immediate future.

In the interim report, Somers said: "This possibility results in the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast doubt about Rangers' ability to continue as a going concern and therefore that the company may be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business.

"Nevertheless, after making the appropriate enquiries and considering the uncertainties referred to above, the directors have concluded that there is a reasonable expectation that the company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, the directors continue to adopt the going concern basis in preparing the interim results."

Earlier this month, the Union of Fans, which incorporates all of the main Rangers supporters' groups, urged fans to put season ticket money into a trust, from which it would only be released to the club when assurances were met, including security over Ibrox and the Murray Park training ground.

The club's independent auditor, Deloitte, stated the uncertainty might cast "significant" doubt over the club's ability to continue as a going concern.

The club have made assumptions including that they "modestly" increase their season-ticket numbers, which stood at 36,000 in League One, next season and beyond.

The improvement in financial performance is in large part down to increased retail sales with the club reporting its partnership with Sports Direct was worth £4.8million in the seven months, up from £900,000.

Revenue was up 38 per cent to £13.2million, however operating expenses also increased slightly to £16.8million.

Staff costs were down £800,000 to £7.5million but the club pointed out that £500,000 was spent on severance payments.

Somers and chief executive Graham Wallace came in towards the end of the period and the latter is conducting a 120-day review of the business, and they explained some of the spending that meant cash reserves fell from £21.2million in a year.

Somers said: "The majority of the money raised from the IPO in December 2012 had been spent by June 2013 on IPO related fees and commissions, severance payments, the purchases of the Albion car park and Edmiston House and to fund ongoing operating losses.

"The club incurred a further £7.7m of cash expenditure in the six months to 31 December 2013, funding additional fixed asset purchases and operating losses. In total the club has spent over £4m on fixed assets since the IPO that are not yet generating incremental revenue."

Somers admitted operating costs had been unsustainable.

"For example, in the period under review, nine players were signed at a time when the club already had the second highest wage bill in Scottish football whilst playing in the third tier," he added.

Wallace gave little detail in the report about his review, although he declared "excellent progress" and said he would outline his vision for the club "in the near future".

Wallace added: "The past several months have unearthed many adverse legacy issues requiring considerable time, effort and resource to address and resolve.

"These issues have impacted the club's ability to make progress quickly on the rebuilding process. There still remain a number of matters that are being resolved so that effort can be fully applied to growing and developing the club to deliver future success."

Meanwhile, the club detailed possible legal action by Craig Whyte in the "contingent liabilities" of the report, but stated they had not had any correspondence from the former Rangers owner since May.

Whyte had claimed he was deprived of a legitimate interest in the new company which rose from the ashes of the club he pushed towards liquidation, but Rangers say his claim is "entirely unsubstantiated based on legal advice".


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