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SBD Global/May 15, 2014/Finance

Atletico Madrid CEO Says Club Turned To Investors For Help With Finances

Champions League finalist La Liga side Atlético Madrid "is struggling to pay its bills on time" even as the team chases European club football’s top prize, according to Alex Duff of BLOOMBERG. The club's latest financial statement reveals that Atlético was late with 37% of payments to suppliers last season. CEO Miguel Angel Gil said that, with Spanish banks restricting lending to the club during a six-year slump, "the team turned to investors" from Azerbaijan, the U.S. and Kazakhstan. Atlético plays Real Madrid, "the record nine-time European Cup-winner, for the Champions League trophy in Lisbon on May 24." Barcelona University accountancy professor Jose Maria Gay said that with cash flow at 5% of its €543M ($745M) debt last June, Atlético "is in the weakest financial shape of the eight clubs that reached the Champions League quarterfinals." Gay said, “They have a chronic problem. They have to service their debts all the time.” Gay said that even if Atlético wins the final and takes its Champions League prize money to as much as €50M ($69M), "it will probably have to trade players." Gil said that the club is paying off about €80M ($110M) of tax debt costing 4.5% in annual interest at the rate of about €15M ($21M) a year. Atlético’s financial outlook "is improving with plans to move into a new stadium in 2016 that will increase match-day sales from parking and corporate hospitality" by at least 66%. Gil said the move has “zero” net cost for the team and that Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas SA "is building the stadium in return for acquiring the site of the team’s current arena" (BLOOMBERG, 5/14).
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