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SBD Global/June 3, 2016/Finance

English Premiership Side Harlequins CEO Eyeing Bright Future With Bond Success

English Premiership side Harlequins experienced "another success story off the pitch and the recent launch of the club's mini-bond might just pave the way for even  more prosperity in the future," according to Tim Groves of RUNNING RUGBY. Club CEO David Ellis "insists that the absence of top tier European action at the Stoop will not hit the club’s finances too hard and the numbers suggest it is heading in the right direction and will continue to do so in the years to come." Despite reporting an operating loss of £1.3M in the year to June 2015, Harlequins "achieved a record turnover" of £17.9M ($26M) and the number of season tickets sold "has been growing fast." Coupled with "healthy television revenue for Premiership clubs nowadays and a new RFU heads of agreement on the horizon and Ellis is confident that it is the perfect time to go to the market and offer the opportunity to invest in a new Harlequins bond" with an interest rate of 5.5%. He said, "The club's top line revenue number has grown by 45 percent over the last five years and the average in the Premiership is 12 percent, so we are in good shape." The initial aim was to raise £7.5M ($11M) but "the deadline was extended from May 16 to 31 in order to allow more people to take advantage of the bond and, although the club is not yet in a position to confirm the final total, the expectation is that it will far exceed the original target." Financial sustainability "is very much the watchword for most Premiership clubs nowadays, aside from the few bankrolled by a single wealthy backer, and bond schemes seem to be an increasingly popular way of generating income in the short term." Expansion of the Stoop "may come further down the line and some of the bond money will go towards exploring the various options to do so but much of it will be spent on investigating how best to capitalize on the new growth areas of the sport." Women's rugby, which Ellis describes as "the fastest growing sport in the world right now," is a particular area of interest and the club is planning to develop a Harlequins 7s team and tag and touch tournaments as well (RUNNING RUGBY, 6/2).
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