Barcelona obtains the money for the remodeling of the Camp Nou but will seek refinancing and a reduction in interest | Sports

Joan Laporta has gotten rid of the rush to obtain the necessary financial resources to start the remodeling of the Camp Nou, but that financial work is far from finished. Barcelona, ​​with the board of directors that governs it then, will be forced within five years to find relief for the 583 million euros that Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan will lend it in a short-term loan and, four years later (at the very late), it will have to look for another 477 million to pay a debt issue designed to repay in a maximum of 9 years. Assuming the payment of those more than 1,000 million (from which what has already been amortized must be subtracted) plus the corresponding interest in a maximum of nine years would be too onerous for a club (which initially thought it would gain margin until 2045 to pay that amount) with a painful economic situation and which has also plunged into the money market with the highest interest rates in fifteen years.

In fact, club sources point to this option of exiting these credit operations, without payment of compensation if it occurs before, as an opportunity: that the markets relax, that the situation of the Barça club improves and that they can find lenders that do not see so much risk in the loan and, thus, reduce the 5.5% interest to which Barça has just committed. If it succeeds, it will reduce a bill of around 1.3 billion euros in interest to be paid over 24 years.

But yes, Joan Laporta has already secured the 1,450 million to finance the Espai Barça, the “club’s most important institutional project” and the achievement of a “collective dream”, as he pointed out this Thursday. This figure, close to the maximum of 1,500 million that the club’s board of directors allowed, comes from the two short-term operations mentioned (583 million and 477 million) and another private placement of debt between investors of 390 million euros whose period of amortization will be between 20 and 24 years.

Laporta defends that these financial resources have been achieved assuming three premises that his board had set. The first, that the works did not have to be paid for by the partners. And the other two, that the club’s assets were not mortgaged and that the financing operation did not compromise sports management. Likewise, and without anyone asking him before about the power taken by the borrowers of the 1,450 million euros, with the investment banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan at the helm, the Barça president has indicated that the conditions of the operation do not undermine the “governance model” of the entity, with an approval role that falls to the assembly of delegates.

The role of those two brokers of global dimension in the future of Barça is a mystery despite the words of Laporta and those that the economic vice president of the entity, Eduard Romeu, has poured out on them: “They are not financiers, but fellow travelers.” The Barça club sees no risk in the power of the credit backpack that they will receive at the end of May, when they receive the mountain of money to pay for the new Camp Nou, the Palau Blaugrana and all the urban development operations in the vicinity. His conviction is maximum about the ability to generate resources of the future stadium, once it is fully remodeled. The club anticipates that, “with a conservative scenario”, it will capture 247 million euros, of which the initial 100 million will go to pay debt and interest. If those numbers were not met and the debt could not be paid, they are convinced that the “new” fellow travelers will allow them to renegotiate and even roll up their sleeves to improve the club’s business. “Nobody can come to the club to say what to do,” said the financial director, Manel del Río, while Romeu stated that investors have taken “a risk.” Barcelona will not have the money directly either. The Securitization Fund, a financial mechanism that will depend on the Securities Market Commission (CNMV) created for Espai Barça will be in charge of entering the money and distributing it as agreed, with control of each income and each payment.

Romeu has taken the opportunity to throw a dart at the previous Barcelona board of directors, chaired by Josep Maria Bartomeu. “Before, perhaps, they didn’t have the capacity, but surely they didn’t have the courage either,” he said.

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