Mar 10, 2011
Sports Direct's Ashley in clear after fraud probe
Mar 10, 2011
LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - Sports Direct (SPD.L), Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer, said none of its employees were under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office as it detailed a 220 million pounds ($355.2 million) refinancing.
"We can confirm that no individuals connected to Sports Direct International are under investigation," the firm, controlled by Newcastle United soccer club owner Mike Ashley, said on Wednesday.
In March 2010 the Competition Commission formally cleared Sports Direct's acquisition of 31 stores from struggling rival JJB Sports (JJB.L) and in October 2010 the SFO completed its investigation into Sports Direct and JJB, bringing no charges against any company within their corporate groups but continued the investigation in relation to individuals. Sports Direct said the new three year unsecured 220 million pounds facility was through a club of 10 banks led by HSBC (HSBA.L), Barclays (BARC.L) and Handelsbanken (SHBa.ST).
The facility's level of interest cost is dependent upon the group's level of borrowing and profitability. At its current level of debt, the interest rate payable is 175 basis points over LIBOR.
"The facility provides the group with ample funding to pursue its business and strategic objectives," said Chief Executive Dave Forsey.
Last month Sports Direct said it was trading well after a robust third quarter, ratcheting up the pressure on stricken rival JJB.
(Reporting by James Davey, editing by Mark Potter)
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