Friday, November 25, 2011

Sir Philip Green and homing chickens

Two years ago, I wondered why BBC econpundit Robert Peston made so little of Sir Philip Green's debt-funded £1.2 billion dividend extraction from the Arcadia Group. I said then:

However, if, in the economic downturn, turnover and profits are savaged, and tangible assets decline sharply in value, and Arcadia becomes very weak, or even goes bust, what will Peston say then? Arcadia Group employs 27,000 people; was it really OK, other than in a strictly legal sense, to put such a heavy yoke around its neck? Had the dividend not been paid - and especially, not been funded by humungous bank loans - what more might the group have achieved?

This "value-skimming" was the subject of adverse comment at the time, by The Independent newspaper.

Now, S'Philip threatens to close up to 260 shops and throw thousands out of work. He ascribes the problems to a number of factors, including "the climate". Richard Littlejohn is sceptical; anyone else feel the same way?

Where could Arcadia have got to today, without all those rocks in its panniers? It's still carrying £444.5 million of debts, according to the last accounts (which were reported in so upbeat a manner).

And as ever in our modern financial world, what A does, B suffers for. When the chickens come home to roost, it's not Sir Philip's head they'll be pooping on.

Nice place, Jersey (where wife Tina's Taveta Investments holding company is based); not so sure about Monaco, whose Monte Carlo district is described by AA Gill as "the sort of slum that rich people build when they lack for nothing except taste and a sense of the collective good" and where Tina is, technically, "domiciled". Where the physical Tina and her husband actually spend most of their time I can't say, but when it all turns sour I'm sure they won't be able to smell it.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

An armed venture into Switzerland would turn up many things from under rocks.