Goals goes to shareholders to raise £2.8m

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Five-a-side operator Goals Soccer Centres tapped shareholders for £2.8m to bolster its balance sheet yesterday in the wake of its recent failed takeover.

The East Kilbride-based group – whose shareholders last month voted against plans for a £73.1m takeover by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan – announced the share placing as it looks to reduce debts to below £40m from the current £53.9m before the end of 2014.

Fees relating to the failed takeover contributed to a £2.8m hit to half-year profits from exceptional items, Goals said.

Half-year figures showed pre-tax profits were slashed to £1.6m from £4m a year earlier after costs including £1.3m in professional fees for the takeover and a £2m write-off on development costs.

But underlying profits rose 10 per cent to £4.4m thanks to an 11 per cent rise in turnover. Like-for-like sales lifted 2 per cent in the six months to June 30, which marked a slowdown on the 3 per cent rise seen a year ago.

Shares in Goals fell 5 per cent following the fundraising, priced at 115p a share.

Simon French, analyst at Panmure Gordon, said: “Shareholders may feel a bit miffed at being asked to subscribe to the proposed placing at 115p per share having rejected a 144p per share bid just weeks ago.”

Goals saw 71.4 per cent of investors back the deal last month, below the 75 per cent that was needed for it to be passed, which caused shares to plunge 20 per cent in one day.

Ontario Teachers, which is one of the world’s biggest pension funds and owns lottery operator Camelot, had won the support of the directors of East Kilbride-based Goals.