Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has strengthened his ties with Everton after paying £ 30 million up front to secure an exclusive naming rights option for the club’s new stadium.
The 66-year-old, who sold his shares in Arsenal for £ 550 million reported in the summer of 2018, is a long-time trading partner of Toffees Farhad Moshiri’s majority shareholder and has been linked to the purchase of a stake in club.
Usmanov’s USM holding already sponsors the Finch Farm club’s training camp and the Russian tycoon has now raised additional money with an ongoing naming rights agreement for the Bramley-Moore Dock, which is expected to be completed by 2023.
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A contract has already been agreed on a rights agreement for the new land and Usmanov’s £ 30 million buy him the first option to pursue it at current market rates once construction is nearly complete.
Although no specific finances details have been revealed, it has been understood that it is below the £ 20 million per year level that Tottenham is seeking for their new stadium.
The club is seeking to fund 60 to 70% of the estimated £ 500 million cost of the new land, for which planning permission was presented last month, through a debt structure and two banks – JP Morgan and Mitsubishi. UFJ Financial Group – have been busy exploring options.
However, club financial and commercial director Sasha Ryazantsev said that Moshiri “continues to invest in the club and is committed to ensuring the progress of the new stadium project” and the majority shareholder is “excited about the plans and progress made” .
Usmanov’s latest investment was revealed when Everton published his accounts for 13 months – due to a realignment in the accounting period – showing that the club recorded a loss of £ 111.9 million despite recording second turnover highest in its history of £ 188 million.
Total net debt fell from £ 65.7 million to £ 9.2 million, largely due to an additional £ 50 million interest-free loan from Moshiri which brings its investment to £ 350 million, in addition to its price purchase of over £ 100 million for the club in which it first acquired a majority stake in February 2016.
The key to achieving a more sustainable base for the club is the new stadium, which should produce positive cash flow even after debt payments have been met and the prospect of European football with a top seven spot outlined as an important factor in the coming seasons.
“Last year I shared with you the long-term vision of our club to establish Everton as an elite club that challenges the highest peaks of national and European competitions,” said CEO Denise Barrett- Baxendale.
“I had no doubt that this meant winning national titles and trophies, competing regularly in the Champions League … in a world-class stadium.
“This ambition has not changed. We knew that it would be extremely demanding, that it would not happen overnight and that it is a longer term journey in commitment.
“Moshiri’s investment has been vital and impactful. However, this investment has inevitably had an impact on our short-term profitability.
“These results reflect our position in the early stages of a long-term investment cycle.”
Moshiri was not present at the AGM on Tuesday evening as he was “in deep negotiations with a long-term financing option” regarding the financing of the stadium, but manager Carlo Ancelotti was there.