By Olawale Alabi
FC Barcelona issued bonds on Wednesday to finance the revamp of its Camp Nou stadium, agreeing to pay six percent to 7.22 percent interest depending on maturities, more than initially expected.
The Spanish club said in April it had secured a financing deal worth 1.45 billion euros (1.60 billion dollars) with investors including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.
It is a deal that will enable it to renovate its iconic but outdated stadium and its surroundings.
Camp Nou is the largest football stadium in Europe and the fourth-largest in the world by capacity, with 99,354 seats.
It agreed to pay back investors in progressive tranches — after five, seven, nine, 20, and 24 years — with a flexible structure, including a grace period.
The final repayment will come six years earlier than under the terms initially approved by the club members in 2021.
Barca’s financial director has estimated the net interest rate would average about 5.5 percent.
But it warned that external events such as February’s earthquake in Turkey and the banking sector turmoil could make the issuance more expensive.
According to the Vienna stock exchange, the bonds registered and issued on Wednesday by the Espai Barca fund handling the stadium project will mature in 2028, 2030, 2032, 2043 and 2047.
They have interest rates ranging from six percent to 7.22 percent
FC Barcelona have hopes the revamp stadium will allow them to generate more than 200 million euros of additional revenue annually.
This is through sponsorship and naming rights, ticketing, catering, VIP boxes, hospitality, meetings and events.
But the club did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comments.
It took the club two years to negotiate the deal with investors and rating agencies.
Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) said the revised preliminary debt structure forced it to downgrade the financing plan’s rating to BBB from BBB+ due to additional refinancing and interest rate risk.
It later converted its preliminary rating to unpublished from published at the club’s request.(Reuters/NAN)