Developer to buy Derby County

A £83m-revenue developer is looking to take over Derby County FC, which collapsed into administration last year.

Clowes Developments, a Derby-based property investor and developer, has been named as the preferred bidder to take control of the club – coming just a week after the group bought the Rams’ Pride Park Stadium.

The developer, which jumped in with a bid this week, turned over £83m in 2021. This was a 22 per cent decrease from the preceding year, when it reported revenue of £106.5m. Its profit before tax fell from £25.1m to £22.3m over the same period.

In its accounts for the year ending in March 2021, Clowes Developments revealed that it was struggling to deliver completed buildings to normal timescales because of supply-chain issues. It explained that contractors were quoting 50 per cent longer to complete units.

However, it does not seem to have deterred the group from buying the League One club, with the sale set to be finalised today. The value of the sale remains undisclosed.

Clowes Developments issued an interim loan to the club last week, so that it could start the next football season and continue to trade while the purchase deal was finalised. League One is due to begin on 30 July.

Clowes Developments chairman David Clowes said the firm stepped in to purchase the club because it was “inconceivable” for the 137-year-old organisation to fall away.

“With a deadline looming and the start of the next season getting closer, we needed to do something. As a local and established property company, purchasing the stadium seemed the obvious first step,” added Clowes.

The developer said that as soon as the deal was completed, the club would be able to begin the process of rebuilding a full team, confirm contracts, prepare fixtures and start bringing in revenue.

Derby County went into administration in September 2021. Andrew Andronikou, Carl Jackson and Andrew Hosking from financial advisory firm Quantuma were named as administrators for the club. They revealed that the club’s finances were hit badly by the pandemic and it would not be able to sustain itself over the long term.

The administrators said in a statement: “All parties are now working hard to conclude what is still a complex legal transaction within a very short timeframe. Once concluded, the transaction will enable the club to move forward and prepare for the upcoming season out of administration. It will also ensure that Pride Park Stadium and the club are under the control of a new, local owner with the commitment and resources to enable the club to move forward with a clean slate.”

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