Rangers shares suspended from trading

 

Rangers have seen their shares suspended from trading on the stock exchange after submitting unaudited accounts.

The club also confirmed in a statement to the PLUS Stock Exchange that they were considering withdrawing their listing on the exchange in the long term.

The statement read: "As a result of the delay in publishing its audited accounts to 30 June 2011, the board announce that the company's shares have been suspended from trading on PLUS pursuant to Rule 51."

Rangers released their annual financial figures on November 30, but did not get them signed off by an independent auditor as required by exchange rules, amid financial uncertainty caused by their ongoing tax case with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

The club have also failed to hold an AGM within the usual timescale as majority shareholder Craig Whyte, who assumed control in May, waits for a more positive outlook.

The statement continued: "The delay has been caused as a result of finalising the audit, which the board believe will be complete on or around January 31, 2012.

"The delay in finalising the audit is principally related to the ongoing HMRC tax tribunal.

"The board of the Rangers Football Club plc is currently considering the merit of maintaining its listing on the PLUS market after May 6 2012, being the date 12 months following the acquisition of the 85.3% holding of the Company by The Rangers FC Group Limited."

The stock exchange had earlier issued a statement announcing the suspension, pointing to rule 51 of their regulations for issuers.

The rule reads: "An issuer must publish annual audited accounts within the time frame required by the jurisdiction to which it is primarily subject or its applicable accounting standards or, if no such time frame is decreed, within a timetable which the issuer must agree in advance with PLUS."

After releasing the statement to the stock exchange, the club posted comments from Whyte on their own website where the Rangers chairman downplayed the importance of retaining a place on the market.

Whyte said: "Given the structure of the shareholding in the club, there is very little, if any, tangible benefit for the club to be a listed company.

"The fact that the club has a majority shareholder controlling more than 80% means there is very little trading in shares.

"In reality, a public listing means more bureaucracy.

"Rangers does not need to remain a listed company in order for people to buy and sell their individual shares and since becoming chairman I have always questioned what is really being achieved with a public listing.

"Whether or not we are a listed company, accounts will still be published and there will still be a shareholders' AGM.

"All shareholders would be able to hold the directors to account."

The club also announced that "last year's postponed AGM will be held as soon as possible after the accounts are finalised".

The development could make it more difficult for minor shareholders to sell their stock.

The annual financial figures showed the club's net debt was almost halved to £14million but "net current liabilities" rose from about £21million to £34.3million.

They were also accompanied by a statement confirming that Whyte had been disqualified as a director for seven years from 2000. The admission prompted the Scottish Football Association to write to the club seeking clarification.

Whyte has described the tax case, which could potentially cost the club up to £49million, as a "dark cloud" and he has refused to rule out the possibility of administration if Rangers lose their dispute.

A tribunal was postponed in November and is expected to resume in private next week. The disagreement relates to payments made to staff before Whyte took over Sir David Murray's controlling stake.

PA

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