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Corinthians considers sale of shares in stadium to pay off debts

Neo Química Arena, São Paulo

Featured image credit: Anderson Bueno Pereira / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Resized to fit

Neo Química Arena, São Paulo

Featured image credit: Anderson Bueno Pereira / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Resized to fit

Brazilian football club Corinthians is said to be considering the sale of a significant stake in its Neo Química Arena to pay off debts associated with its construction.

The 49,000-capacity venue was built at a cost of $435m for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where it staged the semi-final between Netherlands and Argentina. The Corinthians Arena in São Paulo is the fifth largest stadium in Brazilian club football.

However, a report in Globo claims the club is looking to minimise the money still owed on the venue’s construction. Globo said Corinthians’ main objective is to cease interest payments to banking group Caixa, which financed the stadium. In 2023 alone, the club must transfer almost $50m to the bank. The principal amount, of more than $300m, will only begin to be paid in 2025.

A club trust owns 100% of the arena, and Globo reports that the club would sell up to 49%.

Two options are being considered, with the first being the sale of a significant chunk to a major financier. The remainder would be traded to the general public. The second would see the 49% of shares entirely offered to investors on the stock exchange.

Globo reports that investors would receive dividends from revenue generated by ticket sales, events and commercial deals.

Wesley Melo, the club’s financial director, said: “This is how we transform the Arena into a financial product so that Corinthians fans can make an investment and we can raise enough money to be able to negotiate with Caixa and make this financing payment.”