Rangers oldco to appoint liquidators BDO to oversee winding up

Quality shot of Rangers sign inside Ibrox stadium with flags flying.
Rangers: Liquidators BDO will be appointed to wind up the oldco.SNS Group

Liquidators are to be appointed to oversee the winding up of Rangers oldco as a "matter of urgency".

Administrators Duff and Phelps confirmed creditors had approved the end of their term at RFC 2012 plc, which was formerly The Rangers Football Club plc.

On Wednesday, the insolvency firm said it would now put forward a winding up application to the Court of Session to make way for the appointment of neutral practitioners BDO, which will be put in place at the insisitence of Rangers’ biggest creditor, HM Revenue and Customs.

Duff and Phelps, formerly MCR, was initially involved with former oldco Rangers owner Craig Whyte on his attempt to takeover the club, which he completed in May last year.

The firm was called in as administrators at Ibrox in February this year after the club had run up debts of up to £134m, including a tax bill of £94.4m, according to Duff and Phelps’ final report to the hundreds owed money by Rangers.

Joint administrator Paul Clark said: "Creditors have today given their approval for the Administrators to bring the administration process to an end and to place the company into liquidation. As a result, we as administrators have instructed our legal team to prepare the necessary application for lodging in the Court of Session as a matter of urgency.

"Should the application be approved, then Malcolm Cohen and James Bernard Stephen of BDO will be appointed liquidators of RFC 2012 plc, and will undertake the process of liquidation of the 'oldco' company and the continued recovery of funds for creditors. This will not affect the current operations of The Rangers Football Club in any way as it is a completely separate entity."

Duff and Phelps have earned around £3m for the appointment, which was made on February 14.

During the course of the administration, the insolvency firm was accused of a conflict of interest in its appointment at Rangers in a documentary broadcast by the BBC. Duff and Phelps denied the claims, which centred on its involvement in bringing an end to the £26.7m Ticketus contract Mr Whyte had used to effectively finance his takeover.

Restructuring partner David Grier, who was one of Mr Whyte’s party the first day he arrived at Ibrox, rejected claims that Duff and Phelps was aware that Mr Whyte was using the money from the London ticketing firm to wipe out the club’s £18m debt to Lloyds Banking Group. He claimed that the insolvency practitioners, who were advising Mr Whyte on the takeover at the time, believed discussions with Ticketus were for short term working capital.

It resulted in Lord Hodge at the Court of Session calling for a report on the conflict of interest allegations, as well as the professional body, the Insolvency Practitioners Association, launching an inquiry into the accusations.

Bids

Duff and Phelps initially selected American tow truck business owner Bill Miller as the "preferred bidder" for the crisis hit club, although he withdrew his offer within a matter of days highlighting unrealistic funding requirements for the turnaround of the club to be achieved.

In June, the Sevco consortium led by Charles Green purchased the club’s assets and transferred them to a newco in a £5.5m deal after an attempt at passing a pence in the pound company voluntary arrangement (CVA) deal with the creditors was rejected by HMRC. The tax authority knocked back the offer as Rangers had repeatedly failed to pay tax, which was contradicted its publicly stated policy on accepting such deals with insolvent companies.

Despite this, Mr Green claimed to have been "led along" by HMRC and subsequently, the newco club was forced to start life in the Third Division after being refused the transfer of the oldco’s SPL share. The Sevco consortium this month invited expressions of interest in a stock market flotation which it hopes will raised around £20m.

In a statement, Mr Clark added: "At this point, we would like to thank the many people, mainly the staff of Rangers Football Club, for their co-operation during a very difficult time for the Club. If it were not for them it would have been impossible for the club to continue functioning. As administrators, our primary statutory function was to ensure Rangers continued as a business and this was achieved.

"Secondly, we were tasked to secure a buyer for the club and this too was achieved. We are delighted that plans for the revitalisation of Rangers are now continuing with the new owners' intention to float the club on the AIM market.

"There has been widespread comment on the administration process but in reality the period 'oldco' Rangers has been in administration has been comparatively short. Our conduct of the Rangers administration has been the subject of intense public scrutiny and we are wholly satisfied it has been carried out the highest professional standards. We have co-operated fully with inquiries into our appointment by Lord Hodge at the Court of Session and the Insolvency Practitioners' Association."

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