No news is bad news

Discussions regarding the 70,000 Free Chess Sets for Schools in England.
Mike Truran
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by Mike Truran » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:21 am

If somebody wants to email a soft copy of the accounts to me on mike@mtruran.fsnet.co.uk I will happily have a look at them.

Mike

Angus French
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by Angus French » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:26 am

Mike Truran wrote:If somebody wants to email a soft copy of the accounts to me on mike@mtruran.fsnet.co.uk I will happily have a look at them.

Mike
Done. I tried to attach the document to a post to this forum but pdfs aren't accepted (nor txts).

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by Carl Hibbard » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:34 am

Angus French wrote:
Mike Truran wrote:If somebody wants to email a soft copy of the accounts to me on mike@mtruran.fsnet.co.uk I will happily have a look at them.

Mike
Done. I tried to attach the document to a post to this forum but pdfs aren't accepted (nor txts).
Might be a file size limit (how big?) rather than a specific type - email me if needed and I will attach the file
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Mike Truran
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by Mike Truran » Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:26 pm

Just a couple of comments on the Holloid accounts (all numbers to nearest £'000). NB Holloid have filed abbreviated accounts, so there isn't a lot to go on:

1. A company filing abbreviated accounts needs to fulfil two out of three criteria: (a) turnover less than £5.6m (b) balance sheet total less than £2.8m (c) average number of employees less than 50. (the thresholds may have been slightly lower at the time the accounts to 30 June 2007 were filed). This is not a big company.

2. Holloid has elected not to have its accounts audited. This isn't necessarily a bad sign - but by the same token it's not necessarily a good sign either.

3. Holloid's loss after tax for the year to 30 June 2007 was £433,000. After adjusting for depreciation (a non-cash flow item) to achieve a rough proxy for cash flow, the loss after tax for the year was £210,000.

3. Holloid's cash balances went down during the year by £111,000 - not unsurprising given 3. above.

4. As regards the short term (less than one year) position, Holloid has cash, stocks and debtors totalling £575,000. It owes £586,000 to its creditors less than one year. At face value there isn't much margin for error in these numbers, even assuming it's able to collect all its debtors and has no bad debts.

5. Holloid has significant £586,000 liabilities greater than one year - no doubt mainly in respect of leasing rather than buying fixed assets.

6. At face value, this doesn't look like a company that would want to or be able to invest any significant amounts in a chess set project. Since the accounts for the year ended 30 June 2007 (which themselves do not, based on available information, paint a healthy picture), the economic situation in the UK generally has significantly worsened, and particularly so over the last couple of months, with no obvious sign of any significant economic recovery in the next couple of years. If this was my company I would be battening down the hatches and making sure it survived, rather than considering costly non-essential projects (particularly those with, dare I say, no obvious significant value added PR to the company - and by value added I mean PR that would lead to a significant increase in profitable sales. I doubt that the chess playing fraternity has within it many people who would buy product from Holloid in significant quantities as result of a chess set manufacturing programme - if I was going to invest in marketing I would make sure it was much focused on relevant target markets than this project).

Mike

David Robertson
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by David Robertson » Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:58 pm

Holloid's numbers for fiscal 2007 merely corroborate everything we've learned about the firm this year. Most of its Board have resigned or left; nothing visible to us has been delivered except hot air and promises; trading this year can only have been worse. Alas for its owners and employees, this company is barely solvent, something that has been clear to me for three months or more (as I made clear in another thread at the time).

It's now pretty clear to me what's gone on. ECF officers have been played for a bunch of chumps, not hard because of course they are a bunch of chumps. I'm tied up on professional stuff just now. But tomorrow, maybe Friday, I'll give my take on what happened.

David
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JustinHorton
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:16 pm

This makes Angus' question all the more relevant....
Angus French wrote:This sticks out too. Did the ECF assure itself that Holloid had the capacity to produce so many sets? Were company searches carried out? Did ECF representatives visit Holloid to see their manufacturing facilities? Was there any due diligence?
And possibly I might like to beg an answer to my own, if anybody knows it....
JustinHorton wrote:where and whom does the figure of 250,000 come from? Was it invented for the much-criticised press release? If not, whose is it?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by Carl Hibbard » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:20 pm

JustinHorton wrote:This makes Angus' question all the more relevant....
Angus French wrote:This sticks out too. Did the ECF assure itself that Holloid had the capacity to produce so many sets? Were company searches carried out? Did ECF representatives visit Holloid to see their manufacturing facilities? Was there any due diligence?
And possibly I might like to beg ananswer to my own, if anybody knows it....
JustinHorton wrote:where and whom does the figure of 250,000 come from? Was it invented for the much-criticised press release? If not, whose is it?
It's a marketing director one (I would suggest...) so at £8 a set you end up at £2 million pounds as per the press release
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Carl Hibbard

Sean Hewitt

Re: No news is bad news

Post by Sean Hewitt » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:29 pm

If I've understood correctly, you're asking why 250,000 sets (instead of some other number).

If this is the question, then the answer is that the project was to give 10 sets to each school. I saw somewhere that there are approx 25,000 schools in England, hence the number of sets required.

All academic now of course!

Neill Cooper
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by Neill Cooper » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:34 pm

250,000 sets is 10 sets for each of the 25,018 schools in England listed at http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/TIM ... chools.xls

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by Carl Hibbard » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:36 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:250,000 sets is 10 sets for each of the 25,018 schools in England listed at http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/TIM ... chools.xls
Ah I see, shame the project is no more then :(
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Carl Hibbard

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JustinHorton
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:37 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:If I've understood correctly, you're asking why 250,000 sets (instead of some other number).
No, I'm asking specifically who, which individual, came up with the figure and when they did so. When and where it is first mentioned? Obviously it's in the press release, but unless that was a figure plucked out of the air for the purpose of the press release, had anybody mentioned it before then?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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JustinHorton
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:42 pm

What I'm vaguely trying to do is look for the chicken at the bottom of the trifle, if there is one. It's partly to do with Martin Regan's very useful comments above where he talked about CfS as "a work in progress" - I'm trying to ascertain how far advanced it was at any given stage. What was proposed, when it was proposed, and how concretely.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by Carl Hibbard » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:53 pm

JustinHorton wrote:What I'm vaguely trying to do is look for the chicken at the bottom of the trifle, if there is one. It's partly to do with Martin Regan's very useful comments above where he talked about CfS as "a work in progress" - I'm trying to ascertain how far advanced it was at any given stage. What was proposed, when it was proposed, and how concretely.
That's it - it never got past "work in progress" so it never really existed

PW and GW jumped the gun and stuck it on the web site and did the "chess in the house" thing and the rest as they say is history...
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Carl Hibbard

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JustinHorton
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:58 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:
JustinHorton wrote:What I'm vaguely trying to do is look for the chicken at the bottom of the trifle, if there is one. It's partly to do with Martin Regan's very useful comments above where he talked about CfS as "a work in progress" - I'm trying to ascertain how far advanced it was at any given stage. What was proposed, when it was proposed, and how concretely.
That's it - it never got past "work in progress" so it never really existed

PW and GW jumped the gun and stuck it on the web site and did the "chess in the house" thing and the rest as they say is history...
That's very possible Carl, but it's also surmise - I'm keen on knowing. Did anybody stick anything on paper or email, prior to the press release, and what status did it have?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: No news is bad news

Post by Carl Hibbard » Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:12 pm

Angus French wrote:
Mike Truran wrote:If somebody wants to email a soft copy of the accounts to me on mike@mtruran.fsnet.co.uk I will happily have a look at them.

Mike
Done. I tried to attach the document to a post to this forum but pdfs aren't accepted (nor txts).
Harder than it seems and rather less interesting as well!

I have done it but am not 100% sure I should be publishing here to be honest - the summary supplied is sufficient

:roll:
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Carl Hibbard

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