Liverpool in turmoil after owners lose 46m in year

THE FUTURE of Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett is in &ldquo;significant doubt&rdquo; unless &pound;350m of debt is refinanced before next month&rsquo;s deadline, the club&rsquo;s accountants KPMG warned last night.<br /><br />Kop Football (Holdings) Ltd, the parent company of Americans Hicks and Gillett, made a &pound;42.6m loss for the year ending July 2008, according to accounts published yesterday.<br /><br />That vastly outweighed the &pound;10.2m profit that the club made, and dampens the optimism generated by the team&rsquo;s strongest challenge for the Premier League title in years last season. It also increases doubts over the duo&rsquo;s long-term ability to keep hold of the club.<br /><br />The &pound;350m credit facility is due for repayment on 24 July and although Hicks and Gillett have insisted work is underway to secure a refinancing arrangement, the lack of an agreement with so little time remaining has given KPMG cause to issue a stark warning.<br /><br />The accountants said: &ldquo;The directors have initiated negotiations to secure the replacement finance required by the group and these negotiations are ongoing. These conditions&hellip; indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the group&rsquo;s and parent company&rsquo;s ability to continue as a going concern.&rdquo;<br /><br />Uncertainty over long-term financing means Liverpool&rsquo;s plans to relocate from Anfield to a new stadium in the city&rsquo;s Stanley Park are likely to be delayed until 2012, the report added.<br /><br />Liverpool recorded a record turnover of &pound;159.1m last year, up more than &pound;15m from the previous 12 months, of which &pound;10.2m was pre-tax profit.<br /><br />The majority of the losses made by Kop Football (Holdings) Ltd was in interest payments of &pound;36.5m, with millions more spent on preparations for the stadium.<br /><br />Hicks and Gillett are said to be undisturbed by the situation and are understood to have been in talks with RBS about extending the deadline, initially for another six months.<br /><br />The pair bought the club for &pound;174m in February 2007, but have endured a chastening tenure at the helm, involving disputes between directors and manager Rafael Benitez, financial uncertainty and supporter unrest.