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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Flavio Briatore's "Chairman's Report" in The QPR Annual Report/Accounts

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- See: The QPR Accounts
- Excerpts from the 30+ page QPR Annual Report

Queens Park Rangers Annual Report - 2008

- On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am delighted to present the annual financial statements and report for the year ended 30 May 2008 with a review of what has been a historic year for Queens Park Rangers Football Club. In November 2007, we saved the club from certain administration and completed the takeover of QPR Holdings Limited, with the clear aim of seeking promotion from the Championship to the Premier League. Shortly afterwards, we were pleased to announce that we had secured a 20% investment from the Mittal family.

We understand the QPR heritage and our role as fans, owners and custodians of the Club. We believe in being courageous in the development of the Club and in taking managed risks. At the same time we remain committed to developing the long-term sustainability of the Club through maintaining a business that pays its own way.

An important part of this development was the launch of a new club crest. The crest was designed to combine elements of the past, present and future of the Club. The new crest features the famous blue and white hoops, which appeared on the Club’s badge before it was redesigned in the early 1980s. The change is to be representative of our aim to re-launch the Club into a global brand.

On the Field
The 2007/08 season unfortunately commenced with the tragic death of rising star Ray Jones. The impact of this had a clear knock-on effect to the team performance at the start of the season, with no wins and 6 losses in the first 9 games. Following this poor start, we decided to part company with the first teamcoach, John Gregory. As an interim measure we appointed Mick Harford as Caretaker Manager before installing Luigi De Canio as first team coach. Luigi managed to guide QPR to 14th place, which represented an improvement on the previous season, when we finished 18th.

Following the end of the season Luigi De Canio departed bymutual consent and we appointed Iain Dowie as first teamcoach. However, after 15 games in charge achieving a points total of 18 and guiding QPR to the 4th round of the Carling Cup, we gave Iain notice to terminate his employment. Gareth Ainsworth took on the role of Caretaker Manager.

Disappointingly, we were knocked out of the first stages of the Carling and FA Cups by Leyton Orient and Chelsea respectively.

Player transfers
The key barometer of our success is the on-pitch performance and thus we intend to pursue a policy of investing surplus cash into team development. In the January 2008 transfer window, we invested heavily in the first team squad bringing in 8 new players – Patrick Agyemang fromPreston, Akos Buzsaky from Plymouth, Matthew Connolly fromArsenal, Hogan EphraimfromWest Ham, Gavin Mahon from Watford, Fitz Hall fromWigan, Rowan Vine from Birminghamand Damien Delaney fromHull.

Although such sweeping changes to the teamwill take a period of adjustment, these additional player signings to the first teamimproved our win ratio from24% pre-January to 38% post January.

During the summer transfer window, we took a prudent and measured approach to player signings by bringing in players through free transfers and loan deals, notably Kaspars Gorkss from Blackpool, Samuel Di Carmine from Fiorentina, Emmanuel Ledesma from Genoa, Daniel Parejo from Real Madrid and Lee Cook from Fulham. In addition, Simon Walton and Chris Barker were sold to Plymouth Argyle and 6 players were released fromtheir contracts.

Finally, five players were sent out on loan – Chris Barker to Plymouth (subsequently transferred), Lee Brown to AFC Hornchurch, Lee Camp to Nottingham Forest, Jake Cole to Oxford United and Zesh Rehman to Blackpool.

Commercial partners
The current financial year witnessed the end of many commercial arrangements including shirt sponsor, Car Giant and kit sponsor, Le Coq Sportif. After the year-end, we were delighted to welcome Gulf Air as our official shirt sponsor on a
two brands that have mutual objectives and desires tomove forward and embrace a global audience. In addition we attracted Lotto Sport Italia as our official kit sponsor on a five-year deal – a partnership that will benefit QPR on and off the pitch.

We also attracted a two-year sponsorship from Abbey, who will become the Club’s financial partner. The partnership will provide the financial group with a bespoke programme including joint branding at Loftus Road, access to players and senior staff and the use of the Club facilities throughout the year. Finally, we announced that leading producer and distributor of watches, Chronotech will be the official time keeper on a one-year deal. Their ethos on quality complements our desire to build an exciting and stylish future for the Club.

These deals will allow QPR tomove towards our objective of ensuring that QPR is financially self-sustaining.

In the close season, we invested heavily on refurbishing key areas of the stadium. We refurbished the VIP boxes, hospitality suites, club superstore, ticket office and seating, as well as improving disabled access and the viewing experience for fans by installing a jumbo screen and scoreboard.

As part of this major transformation, we re-branded our hospitality areas. The C Club is an exclusive club available to only 100 members, allowing members tomix with some of the highest profile business people in the world. The W12 club is a premiummembers club, available to a limited number, providingmatch day
hospitality unrivalled at other clubs.

We were excited to confirm that renowned international restaurateur Cipriani’s would provide the catering at the Loftus Road stadium for the coming season. The Cipriani empire boasts some of the best restaurants, bars and hotels in theWorld and QPR will be joining this illustrious list, providing our corporate guests with some of the finest food available. Cipriani’s will cater for the C and W12 members clubs, as
well as our VIP boxes.

With 39 games played so far in the 2008/09 season, we have accumulated 53 points and sit in 11th place with a win ratio of 33%. In addition, we reached the 4th round of the Carling Cup drawn against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Off the field, our season ticket sales for the 2008/09 season were extremely encouraging. In fact, we took the decision to cap season ticket numbers at 10,000 before the start of the season. We also launched a new membership scheme
which has gone extremely well and we plan to launch a new quarterly magazine soon.

Our community scheme, which seeks to engage children through themediumof football, has reached over 50,000 individuals in the current year and the target next Season is to reach 100,000. The scheme aims to encourage physical activity whilst also tackling crime and anti-social behavior.

Subsequent to the year-end, the ABC Corporation loan that attracted an interest rate of 11.76%was repaid and refinanced in July 2008 with a loan fromAmulya Property Limited, a company with which Amit Bhatia and I are connected. The interest rate under the Amulya Loan is 8.5%.

The transformation in this Club since we completed the takeover has been immense. The
changes to the Club have been very important and will allow us to ease our transition to the Premier League.

I would like to pay tribute to the shareholders, fans and commercial partners for their continued support and dedication and I look forward to welcoming you to Loftus Road to what I hope will be a successful season

Flavio Briatore - Chairman [pages 6-8 Report]
The QPR Accounts

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