Thursday, 15 January 2009

Murray International Holdings

An interesting article on the finances of Murray International Holdings. Makes interesting reading. Its a lengthy article so I've pasted a sample below.

There is a problem with the title link URL is http://www.philmacgiollabhain.com/?p=96

MURRAY INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS

"Real Profits?

While discussing the nuances of inventory, it is worth mentioning a curious effect of accounting rules. A company which is struggling to break even can reduce its expenses booked to a given year by creating inventory: cutting steel to length regardless of whether a customer has asked for it; building offices which no one needs… expenses which would have been booked to the profit & loss account in that year are capitalized and show up as an asset instead of an expense. (When the goods are eventually sold, the expenses are then recorded). Cash is still hemorrhaging, but the company gets to make press releases about another profitable year instead of having to explain red ink to an increasingly worried bank manager or to a bewildered media. Such ‘earnings management’ practices are common amongst struggling businesses. In most cases, there is nothing illegal about it, but bankers and financial analysts should be alert to such issues."

"What Would Happen To Rangers?

In the event of an insolvency filing by MIH, the administrator appointed will have as his principal duty recovering as much value for the creditors (i.e. the bank)as possible. British insolvency cases tend to move quickly, and those subsidiaries for which a willing buyer cannot be quickly found will be liquidated. Collapsing commodity prices are not just affecting Sir David Murray, but billionaires found themselves to be mere millionaires in a matter of a couple of months in the autumn of 2008. This is no time for executive toys. Fortunes have to be remade and energies focused in areas with a reasonable chance of making a healthy profit. That Sir David has spent so prolifigately at Rangers, yet failed to achieve proportionate success or profitability does not make this an attractive business. That Murray has become a lightning rod for many of the frustrations of a fan base who feel that he has betrayed their club’s “traditions” will not help. Indeed, taking on the figurehead role of a club once famously described as a “permanent embarrassment and an occasional disgrace” will be unlikely to whet the appetite of many of Scotland’s wealthiest people. In the event of an MIH bankruptcy, if a credible buyer does not come forward quickly- with an offer that would pick up a sizeable part of the £26m in bank debt and other debt obligations assigned to Rangers FC, then the closure of one of Scotland’s most famous institutions cannot be eliminated as a possibility.
It is unlikely to come to that. Given how little money would be raised in a liquidation (Rangers’ stadium being worth almost nothing to anyone except Rangers), the bank might accept a very low figure for the club. Glasgow City Council might help a prospective consortium of buyers by purchasing the stadium and leasing back the ground to the club- thereby releasing funds to operate the club at least in the medium term.

Whatever happens, it is a cautionary tale for football fans everywhere. When the media, sports and business alike, fail to fulfill their watchdog role, then problems are left to turn into a cancer. There are many questions that must be asked about how Sir David Murray’s hubris and gambling instincts have been allowed to place so many vested interests, not merely in football, in major jeopardy."

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