Scottish football: Aberdeen have agreed a deal to wipe out their debts

A general view of inside Pittodrie
Image: Aberdeen set to clear debts

Aberdeen have agreed a deal with businessman Willie Donald and wife Elaine, who together own civil engineering firm WM Donald, that will wipe out their debts of almost £15million.

Dons chief executive Duncan Fraser revealed the deal was only made possible because the club have shown it can run at a break-even position in recent years.

A statement on the club's website read: "After the year end the club reached agreement with the key debt holders and the bank to restructure its debt and share capital.

Our family recognises we have been fortunate to have grown our business in a city and region that has benefited from the impact of the energy sector over the last 37 years.
Willie Donald

"Some of the necessary steps have already been completed and, subject to shareholder approval, the remainder will be completed this year. It is expected that net debt will be reduced by £14.49m.

Restructuring

"As part of this restructuring local businessman Willie Donald and his wife Elaine will become shareholders in the Club.

"Also as part of the restructuring the Aberdeen FC Community Trust will receive a sizeable shareholding."

Willie Donald said: "Our family recognises that we have been fortunate to have grown our business in a city and region that has benefited from the impact of the energy sector over the last 37 years.

"We decided some time ago that we wished to give something back to the community, we see the football club as a vital and central part of the community, and indeed the whole North East of Scotland, and see this investment as an excellent opportunity to deliver our objective."

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne said: "The negotiations have been ongoing for a number of months now and these arrangements will I believe be transformational for the club.

"The club are indebted to Willie and Elaine for the role they have played in this.

The club are indebted to Willie and Elaine for the role they have played in this.
Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne

Investment

"If the final steps are approved at the AGM we will have a strong balance sheet and the debt servicing burden will be removed allowing us to drive forward on training facilities and the plans for the new stadium with much greater
confidence in our ability to raise the additional investment needed."

Fraser added that the club's turnover had risen from £7.85million to £11.2million last season, when the Dons won the League Cup and finished third in the Scottish Premiership, their first time in the top six for five years.

During that period wages increased from £5.3million to £6.1million as a "direct result of much higher performance bonuses being paid to the playing and management staff" but wages-to-turnover ratio fell from 67 per cent to 55 per cent. 

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