Nicola and I are pleased to announce that we have today agreed a deal to issue new shares in the Club to an external investor, as a consequence of which they will own a minority stake in the Club.
At the time of taking over the reins at Tranmere we had the objective to stabilise the Club financially and to build businesses which would ensure it would thrive into the future without having to rely on football fortune or the generosity of a benefactor, but we always acknowledged that once the ship was steadied, we would look to bring in some additional investment. This is particularly important if the Club is to aspire to a sustainable life in the Championship. We are delighted that we have now been able to secure an investor who will help with that transition.
In seeking investment, it was critical to us that we found a partner who understood the ethos of Tranmere and would want to ensure that the community work, the fan engagement and the development of businesses to underpin the club financially, continued with strong focus. We were not looking for a partner who would simply inject large sums of money into the Club’s playing budget, and put the Club at risk of disaster if they chose to walk away. This year, more than ever, the dangers of such as approach have become very apparent elsewhere. Instead, we were looking for a partner who could help us invest in income producing assets to sustain the Club for the long term, and that is what we believe we have now found.
Santini Group is a very significant family-owned Indonesian headquartered business. The Group has many investments ranging from automotive products, real estate development, financial services and infrastructure. It also partly owned an automotive battery factory in Brisbane, Australia. The Group is run by three brothers, Wandi, Lukito and Paulus Wanandi. Nicola and I have spent time with them both in Wirral and in Indonesia to understand each other, but most importantly, to ensure that the investors gained an understanding of the Club.
The injection of capital into the Club will enable us to move ahead with a number of projects which will enhance our community and commercial offerings (such as the installation of a 3G pitch at the Campus, and improvement of the stadium wi-fi), to reduce some of the debt incurred during our period in the non-League, and to allow for some increase in the playing budget. In short, it gives us the confidence that we will be a stable and financially sound football club which is, year on year, growing its asset base and its financial resources, whilst maintaining a competitive playing budget.
Santini Group will also help the Club in developing the International market, including Asia, to give an extra added value which coincides with the Club’s positioning as “More Than Just a Football Club”.
Lukito Wanandi will take a seat on the Board of the Company, but Nicola and I will continue with the day to day Club operation, alongside Dawn and the senior management team.
We also would like to place on the record our thanks to Simon Nainggolan for introducing us to each other. Simon will become a regular visitor to Prenton Park as he will be the bridge between the Club and the international business.