News24

Chelsea stadium plans revived

2011-11-24 19:55

London - Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich's interest in building a new stadium for his Chelsea football club at Battersea Power Station in London has been revived after a bid by Malaysian firm SP Setia to buy into the red-brick pile was rebuffed.

On Thursday, SP Setia told stock exchange Bursa Malaysia that Lloyds Banking Group and Ireland's National Asset Management Agency had rejected its £262 million ($407 million) bid to buy senior debt linked to the site.

"NAMA and Lloyds have informed SP Setia via a letter dated on 23 November 2011 that they do not intend to engage further on the preliminary offer at this stage," the Malaysian company said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

Battersea's imposing white brick chimneys have been a feature of London's skyline for almost 80 years, but schemes to redevelop the site, which is currently owned by Real Estate Opportunities, have repeatedly run aground since power production stopped nearly three decades ago.

Late on Thursday, a spokesman said the Abramovich-owned, London-based Chelsea football club had appointed Almacanter as development partner, and picked architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox to undertake a feasibility study of Battersea.

"In light of current developments we now think it prudent to look again at the feasibility and potential for the BPS site to be developed for a football stadium," the spokesman said in an e-mailed statement.

"In the past we've talked to various people with interests in Battersea Power Station, but we haven't had any substantive discussions with anyone regarding that site for several months," the spokesman said.

Chelsea football club, which plays in a blue strip, has not made a decision to leave Stamford Bridge and would continue to investigate various options close to Stamford Bridge.

No other details of the Abramovich plan were immediately available.

In the past week, media reports said SP Setia had agreed terms with Irish company Real Estate Opportunities to take a majority stake in the red-brick power station and help fund a £5.5 billion site redevelopment.

Lloyds, NAMA and Real Estate Opportunities all declined to comment.

On October 26, Real Estate Opportunities said a number of potential global investors were expressing strong interest in committing to the Battersea development project, which it said was valued at £500 million.

At 16:18 GMT, shares in AIM-listed Real Estate Opportunities REO were unchanged at 0.85 pence.

Lenders to the power station's owner waived a debt maturity deadline in August while talks with potential new equity partners for its redevelopment continued.

The 10.1 million square-foot redevelopment of Battersea Power Station is one of the largest regeneration proposals being considered in London. It involves an extension to the Northern Line underground railway, and the construction of thousands of homes, retail and office space.

Reuters