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07 Apr 2014 - DRFC Accounts to June 13

Doncaster Rovers - Financial performance

Introduction

 

As many fans will know companies and football clubs must prepare published statutory accounts on an annual basis.  Doncaster Rovers are no different in doing so and have recently published the accounts for the year ended 30th June 2013.  Accounts for a limited company have to be filed with Companies House 9 months following the year end date however the Football League stipulate that accounts should be filed within 7 months of the year end date, both of which the football club has complied with. 

 

As key stakeholders and holders of a number of shares in the football club, the Viking Supporters Co-operative was given pre-release access to the financial statements.  These were analysed by directors with a finance background and following this trust secretary Martin O'Hara met the Finance Director of the football club to discuss items included in the financial statements.

 

Trading name - Patienceform Limited


Doncaster Rovers trade under the company name Patienceform Limited.  This is the company that purchased Doncaster Rovers' footballing interests in the late 90s.  As such, the published accounts are filed in the name of Patienceform Limited.  This differs to the company Doncaster Rovers Football Club which relates to the old trading arm of the football club and is no longer attached to the current set-up.

Directors

As stated John Ryan is no longer a director in the company having resigned in late 2013. This leaves Terry Bramall and Chief Executive Gavin Baldwin as the two company directors.

Annual Loss

The year that makes up the accounts demonstrates a loss to the business of 4.3m (2012 3.2m).  This loss is largely attributable as expected to staff wages and operating costs of the football club.  This further demonstrates the willingness of the club to provide a competitive platform by which the playing side could benefit.  Much of this was through the club providing a wage bill in excess of the usual League 1 playing bill (inclusive of a promotion bonus to the playing squad) and the investment from the owners in assisting the successful promotion bid at the first time of asking. The club itself and the owners have documented that they will continue to pursue a successful playing side. 

 

The comparative loss figure for 2012 is based on a 12 month period to 31 May 2012, whilst the accounts for 2013 have been prepared for a 13 month period to 30 June 2013 which is a factor affecting the increasing loss from one period to the next, especially given that the club has relatively low income in the months of May and June, but, still has all the costs associated with running the football club such as overheads and wages.

 

Other factors affecting the loss are relegation and the failure to make any substantial player sales for a profit.  The decrease in matchday income and television money makes up much of this and the club saw the fall in line with the expectations that were set.

Income

Whilst some losses were made there were some positive steps on the field such as the increase in income that has arisen from the acquisition of the long term lease of the Keepmoat stadium.  The costs for this can be seen in the increase in numbers of staff, however it has been made clear continually that this is a positive and important asset to the football club and community.  The club is seeing positive and continued returns from this and the trust itself welcomes the positive impact the control of the stadium is deriving to the football club and ultimately playing side.  The increases in commercial revenue despite relegation are a key positive.

 

Short-Term Financing

The financial statements detail the impact these losses have had on the club.  The financial input from the owners has covered any losses that the club has made through loans to the club. 

The accounts detail that loans injected in the year amounted to;

 

Terry Bramall - 1,325,000

Dick Watson - 1,316,000

John Ryan - 672,000

 

All loans made in the period do not attract any interest charges, although there are some interest bearing loans which are detailed below.

 

This ensures that the club has been at minimal financial risk and does not have to suffer debt payments.  The overdraft is also now removed which is a very positive aspect of the statements with cash in the bank at the year end rather than an overdraft.  This is very important in terms of liquidity and the strength of the balance sheet.

 

Long-Term Financing

Whilst looking backward tells us many things, looking forwards is the most important aspect and a successful club for many years is one of the central core ideas behind the VSC as a trust.  As such the trust as ever sought to obtain information which is not contained in annual financial statements.

 

The core answer is that the current owners plan to continue funding the club through share issues in order to inject capital.  The owners have a commitment to providing a successful club and as such have a commitment to providing funds as and when required.

 

One core aspect that fans have queries is the loan aspect within the account.  The trust also asked this question and were informed that the plan remains for these loans to be converted in to shares.  This means that the capital injected will revert to equity as opposed to loans ensuring that the liability to the football club is substantially reduced.  This is a move the trust welcomes.

 

Loans and debt

The accounts detail the loans held and as is expected the majority of these fall to the current owners and many previous directors.  There are no loans in place with other third parties.  One significant change is the movement from loans repayable in the short term to long term.  This means that loans which previously could be quickly called in and now stated as long term - demonstrating the desire to convert to equity.

 

As commented, there is no overdraft and the football club also owed nothing in terms of player sales at the end of last year.  Equally there were no values owed from footballing creditors at that point.

 

The breakdown of the total loans from principal shareholders and directors are as follows:

 

John Ryan - 3,416,442 (1,098,422)

Terry Bramall - 4,311,000 (1,050,000)

Richard Watson - 4,311,003 (1,498,422)

Michael Collett - 85,000

Stuart Highfield - 50,000 (20,000)

Peter Hepworth - 25,000 (5,000)

David Blunt - 150,000 (125,000)

 

The first amount is the total loan amount outstanding and the he amounts shown in brackets are the proportion of the balances which attract interest.

 

Shareholding

The VSC remains a shareholder in the football club with the same shareholding as previous years.  A Small amount of shares were issued in the year, however the amount was not substantial. There has also been no transfer of shares from existing owners to third parties in the financial year or period following it (to March 2014), according to Companies House records.

 

As discussed above it is expected that the shareholding in the company will change in future if loans are converted to equity.  This will lead to a further dilution of the shareholding held by the trust.  As such with continued movements ongoing the trust has determined that the funding in place will not be aimed towards increasing the shareholding through share purchases in Patienceform Ltd.

Future

The owners have indicated that they are committed to the ongoing success of the football club and will continue to back managers.  The aim is to create a sustainable club in terms of day to day running, however the owners remain committed to supporting the club in terms of injecting funds where required.  The aim remains for the club to become self sufficient in terms of day to day running, allowing the owners to inject funds to benefit the playing squad and specific projects, rather than to be paying day to day bills as is seen at many clubs.

 

The trust welcomes the commitment to ensuring a continued investment in a strong playing squad which has shown clear results on the pitch in the last 18 months albeit within the budgets set.

 

Financial Fair Play

This is particularly important in terms of the financial fair play rules which these accounts demonstrate the club meets.  These dictate that the football club must meet these criteria or face transfer plan.  The trust welcomes the club's aims to meet this as an opportunity to gain competitive market advantage over the clubs that cannot control their costs and subsequently could be forced into transfer embargoes and fines.

 

Conclusion

Overall, the trust welcomes the positive steps the club is making off the pitch in terms of providing a sustainable football club both on and off the pitch.  This is central to the core ethos to the trust.  The aims to provide a major asset to the community are welcomed and the success seen on the pitch alongside some positive financial aspects is welcomed.

 

The VSC welcomed the opportunity to discuss these aspects with the football club and remains committed to working with the club to ensure a positive future that benefits all fans within the community as part of the In Rovers We Trust campaign.

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