International Trade

Chelsea FC's billionaire owner pockets £45m business loan – from UK taxpayers

2 min read

30 September 2015

Former deputy editor

It's tough trying to get ahead in business, especially when it comes to managing finances. Thank heavens that a steel mill – part-owned by Chelsea FC billionaire Roman Abramovich – has successfully secured a £45m business loan.

Premier League revenues for the 2013/14 football season rose significantly to cross the £3bn milestone for the first time, while Chelsea’s revenue alone was £348.3m.

“The transformation of Premier League club profitability will fuel even greater global investor interest in Premier League clubs,” said Dan Jones, head of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

This underscores just how lucrative the sport is, and Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich was found to be the Premier League’s second richest club owner – while his £7.9bn worth also makes him one of the world’s wealthiest men.

It’s not just football that has fuelled the Russian businessman’s bank balance, however. He has invested in everything from toys to pig farms to oil and beyond to generate his wealth.

He’s also part of steel and mining business Evraz, commanding a 31 per cent share of the company.

And while many companies are often struggling to secure finance and the faith of investors, the billionaire’s London-headquartered outfit has successfully secured a £45m loan.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) rules require that just 25 per cent of a loan must support jobs in Britain, thus a portion of the capital will be used by Evraz to contract Primetals Technologies to enhance its steelmaking facility in Canada.

Read more on securing finance:

Elsewhere, the loan will also back employment at the Sheffield-based design and engineering studios Primetals – which is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Siemens.

Building on borrowing and credit guarantees, UKEF has been keen to provide UK-based firms with more opportunities and business by providing finance to those operating overseas.

However, Margaret Eyres, leader of the direct-lending division at UKEF, was asked whether it would look strange that, through the government, British taxpayers are lending to a company owned by the world’s 137th richest man.

“In the end, we are lending to a company that is buying goods and services from the UK,” she replied.