Monday, 17 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Inter chief Zhang says stability threatened by debt deadline

Published : Sunday, 19 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 127

ROME, MAY 18: Inter Milan president Steven Zhang said on Saturday that the Serie A champions financial stability was being threatened by investment fund Oaktree as owners Suning scrambled to repay a debt worth hundreds of millions of euros.

Simone Inzaghis Inter team are set to be officially crowned kings of Italy following Sundays match against Lazio after securing the league title with five matches to spare last month.

But what is supposed to be a weekend of celebration has been overshadowed by the Monday deadline for repayment of around 375-380 million euros ($408-$414 million) to Oaktree.

Suning could concede control of the club if they don make good on their debt, and Zhang claimed that Oaktree had been actively obstructing negotiations.

"We have been making every attempt with our partner to find an amicable resolution, including multiple paths for Oaktree to achieve full and immediate financial return," Zhang said.

"Unfortunately, our efforts to date have been exasperated by legal threats, and a lack of meaningful engagement from Oaktree. Not only has this been deeply frustrating and disappointing, such behaviour now poses potential risks to the Club that could seriously jeopardise its stability.

"We are committed to working towards a peaceful resolution with Oaktree and continue our success story for our beloved Inter."

The emergency loan was agreed with Oaktree three years ago as the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the finances of clubs across Europe, said Zhang, "in order to continue our support towards Inter after over a billion of investment".

Inter posted losses of 85 million euros in 2022/23, following even heavier losses of 140 million euros and 245.6 million euros in the previous two seasons as stadiums were partially or fully closed due to the pandemic.

Suning had been reportedly close to agreeing a deal to borrow more money, some 430 million euros from another US fund Pimco, with which Oaktree were to be paid off and a series of contract renewals agreed.

Those include captain and Serie As leading scorer Lautaro Martinez, Italy midfielder Nicolo Barella and Inzaghi, who is set to extend his current deal by two years to 2027.

However that three-year loan, which would have had even higher interest than the 12 percent negotiated with Oaktree, is looking much less likely to be sealed than it did early last week.    —AFP

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