Billionaire Mr Moshiri, who owns 77.2% of Everton’s shares, was absent from the club’s AGM at which it revealed annual losses of £111.8m. Tony McDonough reports
Everton FC’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri is in “deep discussions” with a potential backer for the club’s proposed £500m new stadium.
Billionaire Mr Moshiri, who owns 77.2% of Everton’s shares, was absent from the club’s annual general meeting on Tuesday evening. Those attending were told the businessman could not attend as he was in talks with a potential investor for the docklands stadium.
At the meeting it was also revealed Everton had struck a £30m naming rights deal for the new stadium with USM, owned by Russian billionaire and former Arsenal shareholder, Alisher Usmanov. The money gives USM the option of securing the naming rights on the arena if it goes ahead. The money will still be paid even if the option is not exercised.
Everton hope to kick off the 2023/23 football season in their new home, at Bramley Moore Dock within Peel’s Liverpool Waters, and chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale told the AGM that if all goes to plan, the Blues only have about 100 hours of Premier League football to play at their current home, Goodison Park.
She said: “The board is cautiously optimistic. We have a robust plan, the right team in place giving us the best possible chance to succeed. Funds are in place to take us through the planning application process.”
Everton submitted a detailed planning application to Liverpool City Council just before Christmas and, if it gets planning consent, could begin work at the riverside site in the spring. The club also admitted an outline application for community-focused developments around Goodison Park. Combined both schemes are known as The Peoples’ Project.
At the AGM, Everton published its annual accounts which revealed its second-highest every turnover of £187.7m. However, the club also a loss after interest and taxation of £111.8m for the 12 months to June 2019.
It said the loss was due to investment in players and more spending on upgrading facilities at Goodison, Finch Farm and the Royal Liver Building. The figure was also impacted by initial spending on the new stadium project.
After finishing eighth in the Premier League, the club received £24.9m in merit payments and also saw an increase in the total broadcast revenue to £132.7m. Commercial revenue from sponsorship, advertising and merchandising grew by 40.6% from 2018, reaching a record £29.1m. Net debt decreased to £9.2m from £65.7m in 2018.
It was a season in which the club announced a long-term agreement with Fratelli Beretta, along with long-term extensions with retail partner Fanatics and Official Training Ground Partner USM Holdings. Ms Barrett-Baxendale added: “The set of accounts released today reflect our ambition and position as a club in the early stages of an investment programme.
“We have been aware of and planned for the impact the investment would have on our short-term profitability and this is part of a long-term sustainable business plan that demonstrates our commitment to operating in a financially sustainable manner.
“Thanks to the support of our majority shareholder, Mr Moshiri, we have been able to invest significantly in our first-team squad. Looking forward, investment in a world-class new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock offers us all an insight into the future of our Club and underlines our ambition to take the Club forward.”