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Rangers suspended from stock exchange for failing to file accounts

Trading in shares in the Ibrox club on a stock exchange was halted at noon on Monday.

Suspended: Shares at the club were suspended on Monday.
© STV

Shares in Rangers have been suspended from a London-based stock exchange over their failure to file the club's audited accounts on time.

The Ibrox club was suspended from trading at noon on Monday by Plus stock exchange, where Rangers trade.

Plus confirmed to STV the suspension was because of Rangers failing to file their audited accounts by Monday’s deadline.

A statement from the Rangers FC PLC board, released through the stock exchange, said: "As a result of the delay in publishing its audited accounts to June 30, 2011, the board announce that the company's shares have been suspended from trading on Plus pursuant to rule 51.

"The delay has been caused as a result of finalising the audit, which the board believe will be complete on or around January 31, 2012. The delay in finalising the audit is principally related to the ongoing HMRC tax tribunal.

"The board of the Rangers Football Club PLC is currently considering the merit of maintaining its listing on the Plus market after May 6, 2012, being the date 12 months following the acquisition of the 85.3 per cent holding of the company by The Rangers FC Group Limited.

"The directors of the Rangers Football Club PLC accept responsibility for this announcement."

James Godwin, director of regulation for Plus, said: "I can confirm that The Rangers Football Club plc has been suspended from trading on the Plus stock exchange for breaches of the Plus rules for issuers.

"As a company incorporated in the UK, Rangers FC is required to file audited statutory accounts within six months of its year end, June 30, 2011.

"Rangers FC has failed to do so and is in breach of rule 51 of the Plus rules for issuers.

"The Plus Stock Exchange is also currently conducting an investigation into the circumstances under which Craig Whyte's seven year disqualification from acting as a director in 2000 were not disclosed at the time of his appointment to the board of Rangers FC on May 6, 2011."

Listing

After the announcement to the stock exchange on Monday, the club announced that it is currently considering removing its listing with Plus after May 6, one year to the date that Craig Whyte took over at Ibrox.

Chairman Mr Whyte said: "Given the structure of the shareholding in the club, there is very little, if any, tangible benefit for the club to be a listed company.

"The fact that the club has a majority shareholder controlling more than 80% means there is very little trading in shares.

"In reality, a public listing means more bureaucracy. Rangers does not need to remain a listed company in order for people to buy and sell their individual shares and since becoming chairman I have always questioned what is really being achieved with a public listing.

"Whether or not we are a listed company, accounts will still be published and there will still be a shareholders' AGM. All shareholders would be able to hold the directors to account."

Rangers' ability to buy and/or sell players in the January transfer window is not directly affected by the announcement.

Scottish Premier League rules state a club will only be subject to a registration embargo if it suffers an "insolvency event", such as going into administration.

Andy Kerr, president of the Rangers Supporters Assembly, said the announcement was "superficial in effect" as it will have an effect on the club's reputation and very little else.

In November, when Rangers FC PLC released unaudited accounts to the stock exchange, owner Mr Whyte confirmed he was disqualified for seven years in 2000 while in charge of Vital UK Ltd.

The accounts revealed pre-tax profit at Ibrox fell by more than £4m to £76,000 last year while the club saw a rise of almost £1m in turnover and a £13m reduction in net debt.

Later this month another set of hearings will take place between Rangers and HMRC over a disputed £49m tax and penalties bill relating to the club’s use of an Employee Benefit Trust to pay players between 2001 and 2010.

The First Tier Tribunal in Edinburgh will take place on January 16, 17 and 18. Should the case conclude then, a decision in what Mr Whyte has described as a "dark cloud" hanging over Rangers is expected around six weeks afterwards.

Mr Whyte and directors Andrew Ellis and Phil Betts acquired the club for £1 last May through the parent company Rangers FC Group, which gave them an 85% of ordinary shares at Ibrox. At the time, the chairman released a circular to shareholders that included the aim to "maintain the club’s listing on Plus markets for at least a year from the date of the acquisition."

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