In a press conference, Port Vale administrators have told the media that two companies have already expressed an interest in buying Port Vale – Stoke-based International Piping Products (IPP Group) and another unnamed company. Meanwhile, local businessman Mo Chaudry is expected to express an interest in the next few days.
Administrator Gerald Krasner, of Begbies Traynor said: “I would like to begin by thanking people on the council; they have been very supportive with the on-going funding and assisting us in ensuring Port Vale has a chance to survive.
“They could have taken the other route of liquidation, they would have possibly got a better return on their money, but bearing in mind the businesses that depend on this football club, they took what we feel is the right decision.
“I would remind that the decision to go into administration does not solve the problem, it gives us breathing space to the end of the season to try and sort this problem out, but if we don’t find a buyer, there’s no football club – that’s the hard rule of administration.”
There are already people who have expressed an interest in buying the club and Bob Young has already had meetings, and has more meetings planned, to determine the suitability of the interested parties.
He added: “I am delighted to say that because of the publicity we have already had in advance of advertising the business for sale, we have had about half a dozen parties ask for details and make tentative enquiries about buying the club.
“Of those, I’ve had meetings with two yesterday (Monday) who I believe are serious in their intentions, and I will be having further meetings with those parties this afternoon.
“One of those parties is a group called The IPP Group (International Piping Products), a Staffordshire-based group. The Director of that company lives locally and his family are, I’m told, Port Vale fans, so that’s encouraging.
“Another party doesn’t yet want to be named and you’re probably expecting me to say that Mo Chaudry is interested. I have spoken to Mo this morning and Mo has confirmed that he is likely to be interested. He is meeting his solicitors over the next day or two with a view to discuss with them how to formulate an offer, when he’s had a look at the cash flow and profit projections.
“We are as confident as we can be that we will find a buyer for the club and then we will go through the procedures to execute that sale.”
Krasner continued: “We have to have what is known as an exit route through the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). In order to do a CVA, the administrators are given in law eight weeks from the date of their appointment to put out the proposals, and a further two weeks to hold the meeting.
“We believe we have to short-circuit that time scale, because it’s too long for what we need to do, so we are looking to go out to creditors sometime in the first ten days of April, if we have an acceptable offer.
“If we do not exit through a Company Voluntary Arrangement, Port Vale faces the prospect of a further points deduction of between fifteen and twenty points. This occurred with previous clubs – Leeds United had fifteen, Bournemouth had seventeen and Luton had twenty.
“It is up to the Football League, but their rules state that if you do not exit through a CVA, there is an automatic second deduction of points and the effect of that would, in my opinion, relegate Port Vale out of the Football League.
“As well as everything else we are doing, we are doing our best to ensure that when we propose this CVA it has a good chance of being accepted.
“One of the problems is that historically, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs vote against any CVA where the football creditors are dealt with differently than the other creditors and the Football League says that if the football creditors aren’t paid in full you cannot transfer the football share, so nobody would buy the club, so we are in a “Catch 22” situation.
“We are fortunate in the case of Port Vale that HM Revenue & Customs on their own do not have sufficient votes to vote down a CVA. They would need 25% plus of the total votes and they are nowhere near that figure.
“It will be dependent on the other creditors, including season ticket holders, who are creditors at the date of administration for the six games not played, to support the administrators in the decisions that they make.
“Shortly, especially if we get a preferred buyer, we will be going out with next season’s season tickets. I would like to impress on the supporters that any money they pay in April onwards for next season’s season tickets will be ring fenced by us and I am publicly giving my personal guarantee that they will only be used to pass over to a new owner of the club, or they will be returned in full to the supporters.”