Reds seal £350m refinancing

Image: Gillett and Hicks: Completed refinancing

Tom Hicks and George Gillett have completed their £350million Liverpool refinancing deal and have backed boss Rafa Benitez.

Owners reveal plans for new stadium plus back Benitez

Liverpool's owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have announced the successful completion of a £350m financing package. The pair have also come out in support of manager Rafa Benitez, stating they are "solidly behind" the Reds' boss. The news was revealed in a statement from Kop Football Holdings (Ltd). Co-owner Hicks said: "This new financing package is a strong vote of confidence in the club's financial strength and a recognition of the exceptional opportunity represented by the construction of the Club's new state-of-the-art stadium at Stanley Park. "The successful completion of this financing package is particularly significant in light of the currently challenging credit-market environment.

Enthusiastic

"With the refinancing process now done, supporters can look forward to the timely commencement of construction work on the new stadium and renew their focus on actions on the pitch." Hicks also went on to say they are now looking to build bridges with Benitez. The Spaniard's position had been undermined after Hicks confirmed he had sounded out Jurgen Klinsmann as a possible replacement if Benitez were to leave. Hicks said: "Since the meeting with Rafa on December 16th, at which some widely reported communications issues were discussed, Rafa has been assured that he has continuing and enthusiastic support as the club's manager. "Reflecting that support, Kop Football Holdings recently approved his transfer payment request to sign Martin Skrtel for £6.5million and is in discussions with Rafa and club management regarding additional player signings this summer. "Rafa is under contract for two more seasons following this season. I am solidly behind Rafa and am confident of the team's competitive prospects under his continuing leadership." In addition the club have confirmed Dallas-based architects HKS Inc will design the club's new stadium at Stanley Park.
Stadium
The new 71,000-capacity stadium is scheduled to open in August 2011. The statement confirmed that of the £350million financing package, £105million will be debt tied to the club. It is understood £60million will be used to kick-start the stadium and £45million for future player transfers, and to meet the club's working capital needs. The other £245million will be tied to the holding company level and includes the £60million debts on Liverpool's books at the time of last year's takeover as well as the £185million loan the Americans took out to buy the club. A statement from Kop said: "The overall financing is being supported by a combination of owner cash, letters of credit and personal guarantees totalling £225million, ensuring that the club remains on a sound financial footing."

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