Soccer club kicks off new chapter with float

By QIU QUANLIN(China Daily)
Updated: 2015-07-03 06:49:42

Guangzhou Evergrande players celebrated on Nov 10, 2013 after winning the Asian Football Confederation's Champions League in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photo/China Daily]

A leading Chinese soccer club has applied to become the first to list onthe stock market, according to filings made public on Wednesday.

The Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club, four-time champion of the Chinese Super League which recently signed Brazilian World Cup winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, filed with the National Equities Exchange and Quotations to list on the New Third Board, which has attracted some 2,500 firms, 77 percent of them technology firms, since launching in late 2012.

Industry insiders said the future listing would not only help the club's owner better focus on its core business and increase its market value, but also boost the club's strength.

The team is jointly owned by Evergrande Real Estate Group, China's second-largest property developer, and e-commerce giantAlibaba Group Holding Ltd, which own 60 percent and 40 percent stakes, respectively.

"Backed by the strong capital market, the club will have more potential to become a strong team on both the domestic and international stage," said Xie Liang, a senior soccer commentator with Radio Guangdong.

"The listing will help secure more financial support for the development of a stronger team in the near future."

Despite the club's stellar record since it was promoted to the top tier of Chinese soccer in 2010, filings show that the Guangzhou club has been losing money for a number of years.

The club registered losses of 576 million yuan ($92 million) in 2013, and then 482 million yuan in 2014, when its sales revenue beat all other Chinese clubs.

"Under the current soccer environment in China, in which a growing number of clubs are investing huge money into buying international players and hiring coaches, Chinese clubs have still not developed profit capability," said Xie.

The Guangzhou club has lost another 265 million yuan in the first five months of the year, due to higher operational cost, according to the filings.

In recent times it too spent huge amounts introducing renowned international players and coaches.

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