Chase pursues £400m goal in a bid to score with the city

Chase Manhattan, the US bank, will next week go to the City to raise £400m needed to finance the rebuilding of Wembley Stadium
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The Independent Online

The loan which will be syndicated among as many as a dozen top banks, will provide the majority of the £475m that the Football Association-backed developers of the Wembley complex, Wembley National Stadium, need to finish the new stadium, designed by Lord Foster.

The loan which will be syndicated among as many as a dozen top banks, will provide the majority of the £475m that the Football Association-backed developers of the Wembley complex, Wembley National Stadium, need to finish the new stadium, designed by Lord Foster.

The developers have already received a £120m lottery grant which was mostly used to purchase the existing stadium from Wembley plc, the quoted company.

This would take the total cost of the new stadium to £600m, twice the original estimate and four times the cost of the Millennium Stadium, in Cardiff.

The last match to be played at the old Wembley stadium was England's 1-0 defeat by Germany, and a grand ball to say goodbye to the old "theatre of dreams" takes place next month. By then Chase hopes to have raised the £400m loan required.

It is expected to go to the market this week, showing bankers a detailed cashflow plan put together by Wembley National Stadium's chief executive, Bob Stubbs. It will promise income of £120m a year, covering the anticipated interest bill of £35m, more than three times.

However, those familiar with the running of Wembley Stadium have questioned these predictions, pointing out that this would require the site to make four times as much money as it did in its record year and would need a million visitors a year on non-match days, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. It also anticipates that 1.7 million would attend sporting events at the stadium, which implies more than 20 games will full house attendances.

Jarvis Astaire, a former director of the old Wembley, has said he is puzzled by the projections for the new Wembley. "The most we ever made from the old stadium was £15m a year," he said.

Chase, though, is an expert at stadium finance and is understood to feel confident of Wembley's potential.

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