Gillett and Hicks hit by £43m loss

Liverpool owners' holding company deep in the red from servicing £350m loan
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The Independent Football

Liverpool's parent company owned by Tom Hicks and George Gillett suffered a £42.6m loss last year, mainly because of interest payments on the debts the Americans took on to buy the club.

In the annual accounts released last night, Liverpool's accountants have also warned that remaining uncertainty over refinancing the £350m debt before the 24 July deadline "may cast significant doubt on the group's and parent company's ability to continue as a going concern".

Although Hicks and Gillett say they are confident of securing a refinancing deal, the figures reveal that the financial success of the football club is being swallowed up by the cost of servicing the parent company's loans. The accounts for the year ending July 2008 showed Liverpool made a £10.2m profit but the parent company Kop Football (Holdings) Ltd made a substantial loss of £42.6m, largely as a result of interest payments totalling £36.5m.

The clubs accountants KPMG LLP also expressed a warning in their notes in the filed accounts. The accountants said: "The group has credit facilities amounting to £350m which expire on 24 July 2009. The directors have initiated negotiations to secure the replacement finance required by the group and these negotiations are ongoing.

"These conditions... indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the group's and parent company's ability to continue as a going concern."

The club's turnover was a record £159.1m compared to £133.9m the year before, with a profit of £10.2m. That was reflected by a similar turnover for Kop Football (Holdings) of £164m – most coming from the football club – but the overall loss of £42.6m.

Hicks and Gillett have been scouring the globe to find investors keen on putting money into the club but so far without success.

It is not Hicks' only problem – he has said he is prepared to sell a majority shareholding in his Texas Rangers baseball team after the Hicks Sports Group in April defaulted on £325m in loans relating to that team and his Dallas Stars ice hockey side.

Sean Hamil from the University of London's Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, said: "Any company which is not able to cover interest from operating activities has three options: refinance, get new equity investors, or sell it to somebody else who's prepared to absorb the debt and start from scratch."

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