O Corinthians is in the process of negotiating with Caixa Econômica Federal for the sale of part of Neo Química Arena, in São Paulo. The club’s intention is to get rid of interest payments related to financing the construction of the stadium, but without giving up being the majority shareholder in the project. The information was first released by ge and confirmed by Estadão.
Conversations with Caixa have been taking place for a few months. If the business progresses, the expectation is that it will be completed in 2024, when the new management begins. André Luiz Oliveira, the current candidate, and Augusto Melo, from the opposition, are competing for the position of president, in elections scheduled for the 25th. The club wishes to maintain 51% of the shares in the stadium’s investment fund and make 49% available to the financial market .
The idea is that the state bank will hold a larger percentage of the shares and a smaller part will be offered to investors on B3, the São Paulo Stock Exchange. This would allow any investor, including fans of other clubs, to buy shares in Neo Química Arena. Share owners would receive dividends from all stadium revenues (ticket sales, commercial space rentals, events, etc.).
Corinthians’ debt with Caixa is R$611 million. In July last year, the parties reached an agreement for a project to settle the outstanding debt over the next 20 years. R$300 million comes from the negotiation of naming rights with Neo Química and the other R$311 million in installments of approximately R$16 million.
In 2010, on Corinthians’ 100th anniversary, then-president Andrés Sanchez announced the project to build a new stadium, in Itaquera, in the east zone of São Paulo. In preparation for the 2014 World Cup and with the imbroglio between FIFA, the São Paulo board and Morumbi to define the city’s host stadium for the competition, the Corinthians project ended, in addition to realizing the “dream of owning a home ” from the fans, being set to host the World Cup in the State.
The works began in 2011 and the project was initially budgeted at R$335 million, which became R$858 million and, later, R$1.2 billion, depending on the progress of the works. To cover the costs, the club took out in 2013, through then-president Mário Gobbi, a loan worth R$400 million from Caixa, in addition to Development Incentive Certificates (CID) from the construction company Odebrecht. The works, which were scheduled to be completed in 2013, were delayed. The arena officially opened on May 18, 2014, less than a month before the start of the World Cup.
In the initial project, it was planned that the arena would be paid for, mainly, by the revenue from the stadium’s box office. The initial contract, made via BNDES, had interest of around 9% per year, increasing to 12% in case of default. To obtain financing from Caixa, the club placed part of the Parque São Jorge land as guarantee for the payment of R$420 million. In 2019, the bank and Corinthians reached a first verbal agreement, which provided for the payment of all debts by 2028.
In February 2020, the bank demanded payment of R$536 million in court (the club stated that the amount charged should be R$487 million), which decided to block Corinthians accounts. Until March of that same year, when competitions throughout Brazil were paralyzed, the club no longer paid the monthly installments for its stadium to Caixa.
In 2021, the current management of Duílio Monteiro Alves focused on reducing expenses, to manage the club’s debts first. Since then, he sought an agreement with Caixa that would guarantee the end of Neo Química Arena’s debts. Last season, the club had income per match close to R$2 million.