A pay-out coming for Bernie and the banks?

Bernie Ecclestone, Belgian GP 2005

Bernie Ecclestone, Belgian GP 2005 

 © The Cahier Archive

The latest accounts filed by the Formula One group have revealed some interesting new developments, including the appointment of Gerhard Mann as chief executive of Formula One Holdings. Mann was previously the man in charge of the Bayerische Landesbank's London office.

The other point worth mentioning is that Formula One Administration (FOA) has $610m in unpaid dividends. The Ecclestone family trusts are due $150m of this money but the rest - amounting to $460m - is owed to the banks. The problem is that FOA is unable to pay any dividends until the $1.4bn Euro-bond is paid off because of restrictions placed on the company when the bond was launched. That money has since been building up and the Germans are looking at refinancing the bond in order to release this money. This would make an impression on the $1.6bn which the banks loaned to Kirch to acquired its Formula One shares, the process by which the banks first became involved in the sport.

This would mean that the banks - which have long ago written off the money - would be more flexible with regard to the price they would accept for selling the shares. The current asking price for the banks' 75% shareholding in the company is believed to be in the region of $1bn.

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