Town shatter share issue target

THE extra two weeks to Ipswich Town's share offer reaped dividends when the club announced it had raised more than £1.74m in its public share offer.

By Derek Davis

THE extra two weeks to Ipswich Town's share offer reaped dividends when the club announced it had raised more than £1.74m in its public share offer.

After achieving its minimum target of £1.25m when the initial offer was due to close, Town closed the issue last Friday with a total of £1,746,420 raised.

The figure went a significant way to going past Town's fundraising target of £3m, by taking the tally to £3.125m including loan notes and debentures.

The breakdown shows 2,777 people bought 83,071 shares representing £1,6661,420 - which meant an average investment of £629 per person. The issue was boosted by £85,000 of new loan notes - where investors effectively loan the club money which is repayable at a later date.

The directors of the club had injected £482,000 with their loan notes committed to conversion into Ordinary Shares.

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Added to the £1.74m made from the share and loan note issue was £950,000 raised from convertible loan notes issued last May to 17 wealthy supporters, including some directors, and a net £428,000 from the sale of 10 and 20 year debentures to a further 128 fans.

The £3.125m raised since the club came out of administration last summer means Ipswich Town are in a relatively strong financial position and operating ahead of budget so can realistically expect to make an operating profit for the latest financial year.

Although Town exceeded their target manager Joe Royle will not be given a war chest to use in buying players, although free transfers and loan deal options are still open to him.

The money raised will be used as working capital and to keep the club on an even financial keel as it strives to achieve promotion.

Blues chairman David Sheepshanks said: " We are delighted with both the amount raised and the breadth of ownership.

"We have met our objectives in each respect and exceeded our working capital target, which creates a firm financial platform from which the club can now move forward.

"In common with virtually all clubs in today's depressed football economy, our finances will remain tight, however, with fundraising complete we can now focus single-mindedly on football and supporting Joe Royle and his players to achieve the desired results on the pitch."

Until Premiership football is achieved the club will look at other ways of making money, with Elton John due to perform at Portman Road in June, just one of a number of ventures Town are looking to engage in.

Chief Executive, Derek Bowden, said: "Our CVA (company voluntary arrangement) plan budgeted £3m in fund raising and this has now been exceeded. This is obviously very good news for the Club. At the same time other income areas such as gate receipts, season ticket sales, TV income, conferencing and match day hospitality are also tracking ahead of budget.

"Inevitably performance on the pitch will dictate whether this improves still further. Whilst finances remain tight, firm cost control together with increased revenue will continue to improve our position."

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