Thursday 23 November 2017 – Statement
Annual General Meeting (AGM): The AGM of ICTFC Ltd will be held on Monday 18 December and today we have issued notice to shareholders, which includes the Club’s annual report and financial statements.
Directors: There are currently three directors of the club. The Vice-Chairman is Allan Mackenzie and we are joined by Alan McPhee, who is seeking re-election at the AGM. We are actively seeking to bring in new Directors and I hope to report on additional directors in advance of the AGM.
Finances: The company has reported a loss of £422K for the year ended 31 May 2017. It is the inevitable consequence of relegation. The club had budgeted to finish 7th (we had secured 4th, 5th, 3rd and 7th places in previous seasons) when in fact we finished 12th. The financial shortfall translates to the difference in prize money for finishing bottom of the league. Overall turnover in 2016/17 dropped by £676K (15%) from the previous season. At £2,704K, spending on footballing was the third highest in the club’s history and accounted for 65% of our total spending. SPFL dividends were down £276K (21%), cup receipts and dividends were down £177K (35%) and season ticket sales were down by £43K (12%). On a positive note, gate receipts in the league and cups were up by £193K from 2015/16. Our home crowds for league games was 74.893, compared to 70,596 in the previous season. As a result of relegation, our income for this season is forecast to drop by £1.2 million. This is due to reduced SPFL and cup dividends, little TV money, lower season ticket sales, smaller home crowds and substantially fewer away supporters coming to Inverness. At the start of this season, we secured a sizeable cash injection from existing shareholders to help address a cash flow shortfall, via loans, gifts and purchased shares totalling around £400K. A further £100K is pledged. We are currently finalising a plan which aims to reduce losses and return the club to a firm financial position.
The stadium and stands: In December 2016, Tulloch Homes announced publicly that, “With Christmas around the corner, the firm has offered to gift its controlling interest in three stands to the Club, which will no longer have to pay rent for them. Caley Thistle will assume full ownership of the stands which cost £6 million to build to meet the criteria for admission to the top flight, putting the Club’s finances on a significantly stronger footing”. George Fraser, Tulloch Homes chief executive and former Caley Thistle Chairman said, “We’re extremely pleased to be in a position to make this donation to the Club. It has been made possible following the management buy out of business last year and handover has been in the planning for some time. We hope that Caley Thistle will go from strength to strength – and we can focus on what we do best, selling houses”. Then Club Chairman, Kenny Cameron said, “The building of the stands transformed the Club’s fortunes. Now this latest incredibly generous gesture is an enormous windfall for us and we’re extremely grateful”.
In June 2017, the Club began detailed discussions with Tulloch Homes as to how the transaction was to be structured from a financial perspective, and the legal contracts to give proper effect to this gift. These discussions are ongoing and we are optimistic that conclusion can be reached in the next couple of months, at which point, I intend to update you all on the details. I can however confirm that the intention is that:
- The stadium and stands will be gifted back to the club, allowing us then to introduce new long-term investment into the cub, vital to securing our future.
- The front, home and away car parks will remain available to the club, until such time as planning consent has been obtained for any potential development of the land surrounding the stadium. At that point, if not well before, the club – working with Tulloch (lease holders) and The Highland Council (as landowners) – hope and expect to secure appropriate alternative car parking and access arrangements for the stadium.
Overview: We are very grateful to shareholders, season ticket holders, supporters, fan groups and sponsors for their continued support and encouragement. It is sorely needed as dealing with this amount of change is a massive challenge for everyone involved. Managing change is about understanding what went wrong and why and then creating the right environment and momentum to be able to adapt and move forward in a clear, transparent and measured way.
On a personal note, I would like to thank the Club’s Directors & Corporate Secretary, as well as our Chief Operating Officer, Managers, Employees and Volunteers who contribute so much of their time and energy to keep our business and football team going forward in this busy and challenging period. Their professionalism, determination, hard work and good cheer are much appreciated, and one of the main reasons this is a great football club with a proud heritage.
Our vision is to get back into the top flight playing entertaining football and competing for honours. We are committed to adopting a sustainable business model with good governance and financial discipline that makes the club more resilient to the multiple challenges of being a football club. We are focused on developing our own young talent and getting back to being a community-based club that is open and transparent and secures the positive engagement of our supporters and shareholders.
Thank you for your support and best wishes.