Club Brugge: watch out for the car
The arrival of Club Brugge on Euronext, a good deal?
Yes, it’s historic: a football club listed on Euronext Brussels. This is excellent news for Vincent Van Dessel and his teams who have dreamed of such a good name since the bpost IPO in 2013. This is also good news for the two strong men of the Bruges club, President Bart Verhaeghe and CEO Vincent Mannaert. The first holds some 70% of the shares and the second 18%. As the operation does not include the raising of new funds, it is the existing shareholders who sell part of their shares. For the Verhaeghe-Mannaert duo, it is a way of reaping the fruits of their efforts to make the Bruges club what it is today: a financially solid company (20% profit margin during the last season) which sportingly flies over the Belgian championship and which has loyal supporters, in Flanders of course, but also in Wallonia.
The supporter-investor risks getting carried away by passion and buying with his eyes closed, with the risk of paying too much for the action.
Seeing international banks like Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Berenberg at the helm of the offer, along with Belfius, shows that even foreign investors might be interested in this newcomer to the stock market. There is no doubt that individual investors will undoubtedly answer the call if the stock market context remains favorable. They must also be reminded that an investment in a football club is not an investment like any other. Historically, most clubs have underperformed in the markets. Their financial performance depends on a host of factors: results in the field, TV rights, the amount of transfers… When it is not a pandemic which deprives them of income from tickets to the stadium!
As a club, Ajax Amsterdam is an example for Bruges. If over the last ten years, the stock has gained 120%, the investor must also have strong nerves. In 2019, after losing to Tottenham in the semi-finals of the Champions League, Ajax was cleanly washed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, falling by 19%! If Brugge had already been listed last week, they would also most certainly have suffered the sanction of the markets after their elimination from the Europa League against Kiev. So be careful.
In fact, the great danger for any investor is to fall in love with a stock, to be blinded and not to scrutinize the figures of the company anymore. This is even truer for the supporter-investor who risks getting carried away by passion and buying with his eyes closed, with the risk of paying too much for the action. In short, beware of the goal in its own camp, the famous “autogoal”.