LEICESTER CITY’S chairman has wiped out a whopping £194million club debt in a major statement of intent.
The Foxes had borrowed from their parent company, King Power International, over the last four years.
That money had been used to help pay for the club’s state-of-the-art new £100m training ground as well as investment into players and the women’s team amid the Covid-19 struggles.
Plans have also been submitted to expand City’s stadium and build a development featuring a hotel and indoor arena on the complex.
But the hugely popular owner and chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha – son of the late Khun Vichai – has capitalised the loan and interest owed to the Thai family’s King Power business into equity, effectively relieving the repayments into shares.
This conversion into equity will help Leicester’s balance sheet and reduce its interest costs as well as demonstrating King Power International’s commitment to supporting the club’s long-term sustainability.
The Foxes do, though, still have outstanding payments owed elsewhere, with their most recent accounts showing a total of £267m of debt.
Srivaddhanaprabha – known as Khun Top – said: “Maintaining long-term stability is vital for sustainable growth and a fundamental principle that has always guided our investments in the club’s future.
“We want to make sure we continue on that path from the strongest, most secure financial footing.
“I believe with all my heart in Leicester City and what the club can achieve for our fans, our people and our communities – in Leicester, Thailand and around the world.
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“The faith they continue to place in us to run their club responsibly with ambition and integrity guides our decision making and remains vital to us building on one of the most successful eras in the club’s history.”
The debt-to-equity conversion was filed to Companies House on New Year’s Eve.
The Srivaddhanaprabhas conducted a similar move in 2013 to clear £103m of debt three years after taking over Leicester – again helping to ensure all existing shareholder investment in the club would not be carried forward as debt.
Khun Top took on the role as chairman when his father Khun Vichai tragically died in the helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium in October 2018.
Leicester brought in Victor Kristiansen, Tete and Harry Souttar during the January transfer window to bolster Brendan Rodgers’ squad.
Striker Nathan Opoku also signed for the club and was immediately loaned to sister-club OH Leuven in Belgium, also owned by King Power.
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