Business

Wasps rugby union club launches £35m bond

Christian Wade of Wasps in action Image copyright Getty Images

Leading English rugby union club Wasps is launching a seven-year bond as it looks to raise between £25m and £35m.

The bonds will pay a fixed gross rate of interest of 6.50% a year until 2022. Interest will be paid semi-annually.

The minimum initial investment is £2,000, and the bonds can be bought and sold in multiples of £100 after that.

Wasps plays in the Aviva Premiership at the 32,600-seater Ricoh Arena in Coventry, after moving there from Adams Park, High Wycombe, in December 2014.

Concert venue

Wasps owns and operates the Arena, which - as well as the sports stadium - also includes a concert venue of 40,500 capacity which hosts major acts.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Wasps bought the owners of the Ricoh Arena last autumn

The stadium complex also includes a 6,000 sq m indoor facility that can host up to 12,000 people, as well as a casino, two restaurants, a 121-room hotel and more than 20 retail, food and beverage outlets on site.

It bought Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), the owner of the Ricoh Arena, last autumn and in the four months since December has seen attendances triple to an average of 18,569 per match.

There has been a parallel growth in hospitality sales, as well as healthy conference and exhibition sales, while a number of high-profile sponsorships have also been signed.

'Sustainable business model'

The club's group chief executive David Armstrong said the bond would be tradable on the London Stock Exchange's Order Book for Retail Bonds.

He added: "The move to the Ricoh Arena was transformational for Wasps and our new home provides us with multiple income streams and the opportunity to create one of the UK's premier sport, business and entertainment complexes, while offering sponsors and partners the exciting opportunity to get involved with the new second home of English rugby.

"This is another step in achieving our aim of creating a long-term sustainable business model."

Wasps Finance plc is a special purpose vehicle that has been set up for the purposes of issuing the bonds. The Bonds will be guaranteed by the two key operating companies, Wasps Holdings and Arena Coventry Ltd, including the Ricoh Arena.

Interest will be paid on 13 November and 13 May in each year with the investment due to be paid back in full on 13 May 2022. Trading in the bonds is earmarked to start on 14 May 2015.

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