VLADIMIR ROMANOV hopes Hearts’ improving financial health will help attract a new owner soon as he continues hunting a buyer for his majority shareholding in the Edinburgh club.
The Russian businessman is looking to sell Hearts after seven years in charge but wants to pass on his stewardship to an individual or a group who will look after the club’s best interests.
A figure of £50 million was quoted by Romanov as his selling price, however, so far, a deal has failed to materialise. With net debt recently reduced from £36m to £24m, and with the club recording a profit in each of the last two years, directors believe Hearts now holds greater appeal for potential investors.
In the first of a two-part interview, director Sergejus Fedotovas today spoke of the improvements made on the Tynecastle balance sheet. Asked if Romanov is still seeking £50m for his shares, he replied: “That is really a question for Mr Romanov but as a board director of Hearts I can assure you we are continuing to run the business in a professional way and we continue to look for any investment opportunity that can benefit the club and, in turn, its shareholders.
“My understanding is that Mr Romanov will sell as soon as an investor capable of keeping the club on the right track comes forward with a proposal to match his expectations. The club represents a valuable asset and that will inevitably grow in value. With the turnaround we have made, the club is basically becoming cash neutral and with a bit more effort it should become profitable.”
Fedotovas added: “The new stadium project is very important for the future and financial health of the club, city of Edinburgh and Scottish football as a whole.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Ian Black has emerged as a transfer target for Rangers after being released by Hearts at the end of the season.
If the Glasgow club can overturn the signing ban imposed by the Scottish Football Association, they will approach the 27-year-old about a move to Ibrox.