Chinese Investors Help Build New Inter Milan Stadium

Hi everyone,
I often outline on this blog the growth of Chinese football and the heavy investment to support it from Chinese firms. Today, Inter Milan sold 15% stake to China Railway.

China Railway Construction Corp. agreed to buy a 15 percent stake in Inter Milan from the Moratti family, valuing the Italian footbal club at 500 million euros ($611 million), according to two people familiar with the talks.

The transaction would include debt from the 18-time Italian champion, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. Hong Kong-based QSL Sports Ltd. will be part of the investment group, the people said.

China Railway will also work with the soccer team’s new partners to build a new stadium, Inter Milan said, as Chinese builders seek more contracts overseas amid slowing growth at home. Inter President Massimo Moratti has spent several months seeking new investors to bolster the club’s finances, newspapers including Corriere della Sera have reported.

China Railway said the company and its units aren’t included in the investment group and they aren’t in talks on a stake purchase, according to a statement filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange today. Officials for Inter couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The builder’s investment “is completely out of the blue,” said Shanghai-based Masterlink Securities Corp. analyst James Chung. “It has nothing to do with their core business and I have no idea why they’ve done this.

The construction company, which has no investments in Chinese sports teams, has worked on rail projects overseas, including in the Middle East, he said.

China Railway Construction Corp. is the name of both a listed company and its state-controlled parent. The unit, the world’s second-biggest listed builder, dropped 3.5 percent, the most since July 23, to HK$6.70 in Hong Kong trading.

Inter Milan said in a statement on its website late yesterday that it had sold a stake to an unidentified Chinese investor group, which will become its second-largest shareholder. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Inter plans to build a new stadium, which it expects to be completed by 2017, in the Italian financial capital, according to its statement. The team currently shares the San Siro stadium with city rival AC Milan, which is owned by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. [Source: Bloomberg]

Karl Lusbec

A couple of articles related to football growth in China

Real Madrid Consolidate Presence in China

3 Striking Examples of China Football Growth

Nike Official Sponsor of the Chinese Soccer League

Hyundai, Part of Chinese Football Growth

Arsenal Promote 2012 Summer Tour in China with Tee Shirt Display