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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Past Statements About QPR's ABC Loan

In May 2002 (long before the present Board took over at QPR), QPR took 10 million pound loan at 10% per annum from the "mysterious" ABC Lenders. For more re ABC Loan, see QPR Report re ABC and QPR Report

This week, an article by Ben Kosky in the Kilburn Times "ABC spells trouble for five more years"
"QPR chairman Gianni Paladini has revealed that the club could be saddled with their crippling ABC loan until 2012 - unless new investors come forward within weeks.
Rangers have been struggling to pay off the Panamanian-based company for the last five years, when a loan of £10m enabled the club to come out of administration.
But, after the collapse of a proposed deal with Oldham chairman Simon Blitz, Paladini has issued a desperate plea for alternative finance to help him renegotiate the ABC payments.
"Time is very short," the Rs chairman told the Times. "The conditions with ABC are that if we don't do anything in one month, the deal is set for another five years.
"The rate of interest is going up to 11.59 per cent. We need somebody with a lot of money, who can buy off the ABC loan - if anyone is capable of rearranging the deal, I want to hear from them.
"The door is open and this is the time, if there's anybody out there with QPR at heart, to come in. The club is in better condition now than it's been for a long time.
"I've tried, the rest of the board have tried, shareholders have tried and Bill Power tried when he was here - it's not easy. We need people who are serious, not a waste of time...."
"Cook was never an issue," stressed Paladini. "We had an agreement with the Americans that they would buy the ABC loan, plus put another £3m into the club.
"It was a fantastic deal for us, everything was set for them to come in and I asked them to put down a deposit. I was trying to protect the deal for QPR and I asked them to make sure everything was above board. "It was nothing to do with selling Cook. I could easily have balanced the books by selling Cook and [Dexter] Blackstock, but I don't want to do that..." Kilburn Times


The Board have today (Sunday) issued the following statement with regards to on-going speculation in the national press.
Queens Park Rangers FC have been involved in discussions with Simon Blitz about possibilities of re-financing the ABC loan at a better interest rate for QPR.
As part of those negotiations, and by way of a down-payment to demonstrate his interest in assisting with this in the future, Mr Blitz agreed to loan QPR £500,000.
It was agreed that the loan was not in violation of the Football Association or Football League rules.
Mr Blitz, as the lending party, assured QPR that he was satisfied, having received his own legal advice, that the loan did not violate any football rules.
The loan, and the security for the loan was not hidden and was made public by the registration of the security at Companies House.
Contrary to press reports, the loan was not made to help QPR with its payroll, but was made in the context of the ABC re-financing discussions.
Having taken further advice, and having discovered that Simon Blitz did not have the prior written authorisation of the F.A. to make this loan, QPR has agreed to pay the loan back forthwith.
QPR would like to assure its supporters that it has no intention of selling Lee Cook, and the fact that the proceeds of any future sale was offered as a security does not suggest this.
Mr Blitz had no say in any potential sale of Lee Cook, and now it is agreed to repay the loan he will not have a security over him.
QPR will continue to work hard to try and re-finance the ABC loan in the near future.
The contents of this statement have been shown to Simon Blitz and agreed by him. It will also been sent to the Football Association.QPR

April 12 2007 QPR Fans Consultative Group Minutes
6. ABC Loan Update
[Director Kevin Steele] KS spoke/updated about this; saying that the ABC loan as we all know came via an offshore company and that there are regulations protecting their confidentiality; that the interest rate of 10% is crippling and that the board are looking at ways of getting it refinanced/paid off.
He went on to say that there are discussions ongoing currently with three banks - one German and two well known banks - and that they are trying to negotiate a 7%- 7.5% rate of interest. Not only that but also looking at the possibility of incorporating some way of starting to pay off the capital. Talks are ongoing, but obviously due to the confidential nature of the discussions, they cannot say too much at the moment. QPR

June 6, 2006 - Chairman Paladini on ABC - QPR Official Site
"...As I still get asked about the ABC loan I would like to tell the fans and shareholders that we are hoping to replace the ABC loan in the near future with a cheaper loan from a more reputable financial institution.
What do we know about the ABC Corporation? Unfortunately very little, we have suspicions, but we can't prove who the controlling interest behind the ABC Corporation is.
The ABC Corporation's lack of transparency means that the Board must question their motives and their attitude towards the club which is why the Board wish to refinance the ABC loan. We will be reviewing the legality of the ABC loan. QPR

May 2, 2006 Clive Whittingham QPR Rivals Q&A with Paladini:
Q: "Five years until the ABC loan expires - should we be worried yet?
Paladini It is my mission to stop that. I didn't create that situation and it's a difficult one to deal with but while I'm here it is my mission to get rid of it. The more people who see we're doing a good job the better the chance is that they'll help us out and work with us on this. We were very close to doing a deal with the Lloyds bank but then there was all that stuff in the Evening Standard and they pulled out, didn't want to know any more. When I took over here, the VAT man, the tax man, the creditors - none of them trusted QPR, and we've had to catch up with payments. People were queuing up for money here in September. We have to put forward a united front and look like a secure option for people to come and help us out. We're working hard on this, Antonio is in Milan today talking to banks and potential lenders. I am confident we'll be rid of the loan within the five years. Whatever happens I'm sure we'll do it...
Q: Do we even know who ABC Corporation are?
Paladini No, no idea. They're based in Panama with a Swiss bank account I think but we just don't know. Ross Jones does though - "I know who's behind it all but I gave my word that I wouldn't reveal who it is so that's that. I'm a man of my word."
QPR Rivals

QPR 1st AGM April 2006
"...When asked to elaborate a little upon the groups, GP started to become a tad defensive, saying that himself and AC had put so much into the club, and then mentioned that at that very time, whilst he cannot say too much, AC was currently away in Milan attempting to see if he could find a solution to being able to refinance the ABC loan, saying “I realise what you Tracy, and others are talking about today about paying off the loan, but we need to try to look at ways of refinancing it, and getting it away from ABC when the 5-year term is up”. He then went onto mention that whilst he appreciated people’s concern, he wanted to give an example of how gossip on messageboards does have the potential to scupper possible commercial deals, citing how they had apparently verbally agreed with a High Street bank a renegotiation of the loan, only for them to pull out due to lack of confidence following rumours of the company going into administration. QPR1st

March 17, 2006 - QPR 1st Report QPR Holdings Ltd AGM
Whilst talking about loans, CP went on to mention the ABC loan, saying that the interest was 10% on it for 5 years, after 5 years (Spring of next year) there is a break clause, however the clause is not to our benefit because if we cannot find a way out of the loan, then ABC can up the interest should they so wish.
Antonio Caliendo then expressed a wish to speak and with the translation skills of Paolo Mina, we learnt that according to AC, the Board wishes to reach an agreement with ABC before the 5 year period and that they hope to present better results next year in order to hopefully be able to do this..... QPR1st

December 2005 QPR Official Site Q&A -
it appears to me very easy and without access to the financial side at QPR, I guess I can only make assumptions. Are there negotiations taking place with solicitors, lenders and ABC in order to either re-negotiate with ABC or a high street lender?
Paladini: We are arranging a new loan with the Lloyds TSB. The directors will give their personal guarantee on the loan. We hope to get an interest rate between 5.75% to 6%. Depending on the final interest rate we will save between £400-425k per year. QPR

LSA- November 2005
"... LSA reps asked whether there was any progress on renegotiating the loan. GP said that talks are underway with a UK bank to try and get them to take over the loan at a rate of 6.5% instead of the 10% that we currently pay. We are also in negotiations with ABC Corporation to try and reduce the lump sum we will have to pay them if the bank takes over the loan.
GP said: “The loan was not the immediate problem – the biggest problem here was getting running costs back under control and avoiding administration, which we have done.” He said the club has saved £160k a year, for example, just by not replacing Mark Devlin and Mark Austin.
Despite that, our outgoings are still phenomenal. GP said that in the last 18 months our income has been £18m but this has all been spent. In one month alone we paid out £1.2m on bills, “but we still have money in the bank”.
A Member asked whether we are doing anything about the way the ABC loan was taken out. GP said there is nothing we can do, so it is not worth pursuing." LSA

October 2005 - Ron Norris/QPRNet Interview with Paladini QPRnet.com:
Is it true that we are behind on our payments to many suppliers?
Paladini: I tried to renegotiate the ABC loan and then some rubbish goes in the paper saying I was this and I was that, saying I was robbing the club and then they say we are going to go into liquidation. If while this is all going on you go to the bank to borrow ten million pounds that doesn’t do you any favours. I got an email from the bank and they didn’t want to take it any further because of these rumours. Never mind, we’ll carry on and eventually we’ll get rid of the ABC loan. QPR Net

October 2005 - QPR1st Minutes/Report from Meeting with QPR Board reps Friday 21st October 2005

ABC loan
We asked the question if The ABC Corporation are connected with any of the Monaco consortiums or the investors behind them. GP and AC seemed to find this amusing and stated categorically that ABC and the Monaco groups are not the same!
GP and CP explained they had no more clue than us as to who was behind ABC. There is very little copy correspondence in the QPR offices in relation to the loan. CP advised that he did not know if any arrangement fee or commission was paid on the loan when originally set up. CP also stated that at the beginning of each financial year on 1st June the figures showed a £1million loss. It is hoped that ABC may accept early repayment of the loan, which will be re financed with a more traditional identifiable lender.
We asked GP if there were any update on this, and if so would he be able to tell us with which banks the club are hoping to renegotiate with. GP stated that so far there have been talks with two banks, one of which would offer an interest rate of 6.5, whilst the other would offer 7%. He is unable to inform us at the time being as to which banks they have been talking to but CP said if they could get the loan renegotiated with a traditional institution, they would feel safer. He also said that on such a renegotiated deal, £300,000 per year in interest charges could be saved which could be directed to repaying the £10 million originally borrowed.
When asked about any fee charges for early repayment by ABC and CP said it would be negotiable.
And what about any new bank, what kind of security would they look at in order to protect their money? It was stated that any bank would secure a charge on the assets i.e. the ground.
And is there any truth in the rumour that the club have been behind in its payments to the ABC Corporation we asked? Absolutely not replied GP. QPR1st

September 8, 2005 - LSA - REPORTED STATEMENTS FROM LSA & QPR 1st
".....This Thursday GP is going to meet some bankers to try and borrow money at an interest rate of 6% in order to pay off ABC. If he is successful that would save QPR £400k a year..." QPR1st

September 2005 QPR 1st 0 Minutes/Report from Meeting with Club/Board Thursday 15th September 2005 -
ABC Loan – GG asked for some clarification regarding the ABC loan and the Board's thoughts regarding it and if whether there had been any recent news relating to the comments made by GP about the possibility of the renegotiating of it? GP responded by saying that he/they “are currently in negotiations with a top bank looking at the possibility of getting it renegotiated at a rate of 6.5%”. GG spoke about the early redemption penalties and asked if GP could give any hints as to the terms, conditions and how long a period we would be talking about regarding a possible renegotiated deal, but GP said he couldn't comment but hoped to have some good news soon. GP stated that he felt the extra 2% (i.e. from 8% to 10%) was the fault of Ross Jones who he understood agreed to the change of rate at the last hour. QPR1st

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