Monday, March 02, 2009

Give your money to a failing business...

I had lunch yesterday with - amongst others - the CEO of a FTSE 350 company.
They effectively have no debt debt and an overdraft of about £40 million committed until 2015.
So you would think he was feeling pretty happy.
Not a bit of it.
£10 million of that comes up for renewal in October this year, but only from the point of view of what the interest he has to pay on it it. As he says, they could effectively give it back if they had to but who knows what the rest of the year might bring.
They have three divisions, one of which supplies to the high street, and that has fallen a little. The danger is that as mergers and bankruptcies proceed, his customer base disappears.
Now you might think that the bank might be happy with their account.
Yes and no. They have already been asked to give back the £10million tranche so that the bank can give it to some of their failing customers.
And that's really the rub. All the people who have done well, saw a bit of what was coming, hoarded cash, cut expenses and so on are the ones who are getting no help - quite the contrary. As my old pal Warren Buffett said in his letter to shareholders, Berkshire is Gibraltar - one of only 7 US companies with triple A credit rating - but he would have been much better to pile all their cash into a heap, set fire to it and ask the US Government for a bailout.
It's the old saying writ large - bad money drives out good.
At the moment, as far as I can see, there's no good money around at all.

1 comment:

Winchester whisperer said...

It's a disaster - all this pouring cash into a deflationary black hole. Currencies will go to hell and we'll be back on the gold standard.