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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sydney Bond An Innovative Market Flop

SYDNEY, Australia -- The consortium building the Sydney 2000 Olympic stadium closed the books last week on an innovative funding arrangement that turned into one of Australia's biggest market flops.


Stadium Australia had hoped to offset some of its A$660 million (U.S.$515 million) construction costs through the sale of 34,400 "Gold Passes" giving investors a mixture of Olympic tickets, equity and stadium membership.


But investors and sports fans alike shunned the A$364.4 million offer, leaving underwriters facing a massive funding shortfall.


Analysts and local media put the gap at up to A$240 million, which would make it one of Australia's biggest share flops and mean big losses for the four firms that underwrote the issue.


Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) president Michael Knight, who is also Olympics minister in the New South Wales government, agreed Thursday that the Stadium Australia float likely fell short.


"It is not a direct concern to either the government or to SOCOG, although obviously we would prefer that the stadium float was better subscribed than is apparently the case," Knight told reporters.


The disappointment follows financial difficulties experienced by the Australian Olympic Committee, which has lost millions of dollars investing in a Queensland casino.


The Stadium Australia offer has been open for almost six months, more than twice as long as most share offers.


Its offer of 34,400 gold packages at A$10,000 each, and 600 platinum passes at A$33,000 each, opened on Oct. 7, and its closing date has been extended twice due to lack of demand.


The gold packages include a seat at every stadium session of the 2000 Olympic Games, stadium membership for 30 years and 1,000 shares in the stadium company itself. The platinum package includes two priority seats and membership privileges.


Australian stockbrokers said the offer was too expensive given that average income in Australia was only A$36,000.


The four underwriters of the stadium offer are ANZ Securities, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, Macquarie Bank Ltd and ABN AMRO Hoare Govett.