17th Nov, 2018

Wasps publish new '£60m' Ricoh Arena valuation ahead of court hearing over Coventry council sale

Les Reid 4th Jul, 2017

WASPS have published a new ‘£60million’ valuation figure for the Ricoh Arena – ahead of a High Court hearing concerning the council’s sale of the stadium to the former London rugby club.

Coventry City Football Club’s ‘owners’ – the Sisu group of companies – will appear in the High Court in Birmingham on July 14 challenging the lawfulness of freehold owner Coventry City Council’s October 2014 sale of the Ricoh Arena business.

The total deal was for around £19million – including £2.7million for the council’s Ricoh Arena shares.

The deal was for much less than a previous Ricoh Arena valuation of £48million – and saw the stadium sold on massively extended 250-year lease not offered to the football club.

Around £35million of Wasps’ debts reside with bondholders who were last year overdue an independent revaluation of the Ricoh Arena asset, which is used as security on their investment.

In a section of the Wasps website concerning the bond scheme, the rugby club has now published a letter from London-based property consultants Gerald Eve, dated April this year, which gives the new £60million value for the Ricoh Arena.

But, unlike with the previous Strutt & Parker valuation of £48million, the new full valuation report itself has not been published. So bondholders and the public are not able to see how the new figure has been arrived at.

The Gerard Eve letter to Wasps Holdings Limited published on Wasps’ website states: “This executive summary should be read in conjunction with the full valuation report enclosed.

“More detailed comment on the subject premises’ suitability as loan security is provided in section 16 of the report.”

The latest full annual Wasps group accounts recorded rising costs and annual losses last year of £3.8million, despite an upturn in revenue.

The High Court will consider for the first time whether Coventry City Council’s sale of stadium management company Arena Coventry Limited to Wasps was an unlawful use of taxpayers’ money.

The Sisu group of companies will seek a judge’s approval for a full judicial review hearing.

 

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