GFH shrugs off reports it cannot finance Leeds Utd takeover

Unit of Bahrain-based investment bank has been in talks with the UK football club since September
GFH shrugs off reports it cannot finance Leeds Utd takeover
(Getty Images)
By Claire Valdini
Thu 11 Oct 2012 10:49 AM

The CEO of Bahrain Gulf Finance Capital, the company set to acquire Leeds United football club, has shrugged off claims it cannot finance the takeover, The Daily Telegraph has reported.

Gulf Finance House, the parent company of GFH Capital, which is currently in talks with Leeds United chairman-owner Ken Bates, held less than US$6.4m in cash as of June this year, US$1.28bn less than at the end of 2008, the newspaper said, citing accounts listed on the stock market.

“The financials are the parent company’s not ours,” David Haigh told the newspaper in response. 

“All I can say is the money is available but I can’t give you any more detail because we are a listed entity,” he added.

GFH was hit hard by the global financial downturn and struggled during 2010 to pay back the debt it took on during the Gulf’s property boom.

The firm has restructured a number of debt facilities since 2010. In July, it extended the repayment of a US$45m Sharia-compliant debt, part of a US$100m facility which was initially restructured in March 2010, and in May it extended a US$110m sukuk.

It earned US$4.7m in profit in the second quarter of this year, up from a loss of US$11.2m a year earlier.

Gulf Finance Capital in September confirmed it planned to purchase Leeds United, which last won the English championship in 1992.

“We believe Leeds is in a fantastically unique position for all sorts of factors,” Haigh told The Daily Telegraph.

“We think Leeds has a fantastic existing management and administration on and off the pitch and that, with the right investment, we can build a sustainable future in that.

“It is about getting the focus back on the football and ensuring Premier League promotion with engaged, happy fans. We are long-term investors: there is no two- or three-year exit plan,” he added.

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