By David Owen
March 31 – Queens Park Rangers, the west London club back playing in the second tier of English football after ending last season as the Premier League’s bottom club, have reported a substantial pre-tax loss of £45.7 million for the year to 31 May 2015.
The loss is the biggest yet reported by a team playing in the top English division in 2014-15 and takes cumulative losses posted by the club in the past four seasons to more than £140 million. Lying 11th with only eight games to go, the club, majority-owned by Tony Fernandes and partners, looks condemned to at least one more season away from the big time.
Turnover more than doubled to £85.9 million, largely due to surging broadcasting income, but the cost-base was such that this was only sufficient to restrict operating losses to £46.5 million. This was even though aggregate payroll costs actually fell slightly from £75.4 million to £72.9 million.
The club mustered a small profit of £1.8 million on player disposals.
Air Asia, the Malaysian airline in which both Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun, another QPR director, hold an interest, chipped in £2.5 million during the year as a fee for sponsoring the club’s well-known blue and white hooped shirts, up from £350,000 in 2013-14.
QPR Holdings is currently 69%-owned by Tune QPR Sdn Bhd, the ultimate owners of which are Fernandes, Meranun and Ruben Gnanalingam.
Net debt, as at 31 May 2015, stood at £193.4 million. However, the accounts noted that subsequent to the year-end, a review had resulted in directors approving the “capitalisation of the outstanding shareholder loans amounting to £180,697,000”.
The accounts also noted that legal proceedings between QPR and the Football League were still “ongoing”.
The club said: “QPR challenges the legality of the Football League’s Championship Financial Fair Play Rules and any charge against QPR (if any) for breach of FFP rules shall not be commenced pending the outcome of that challenge.”
It said the directors were “of the opinion that the claim by the Football League can be successfully resisted by the company”.
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