As the performance of the Multiplex board and
management continues to spiral from embarrassment to scandal to farce and now
into something worse again with a second profit downgrade in three days, I’ve been hit with inspiration: It must all
be part of a cunning plan.
Yes, folks, Baldrick’s insinuating tones
suddenly entered my head as I read the latest warning that the company could
end up with a bottom line loss of $205 million this financial year thanks to
its Wembley disaster. (That’s the sixth profit warning in 2005, but there are
still a few business days left to get it up to seven or eight if they try.)
Monday’s profit downgrade was so manifestly
inadequate that there had to be further clarification. (Terry McCrann was
suitably scathing here)
Having promised and promised again that the
Wembley mess would be finished in time for something called the FA Cup final,
Multiplex is now warning that it might not – and that would open the door for
significant liquidated damages. Somewhat oddly, the Football Association is now
expressing confidence that the building will be finished, as the AFR online is
And then of course there are the suits and
counter-suits with key sub-contractors that will be hanging around to bother
Multiplex for years.
So where’s the cunning plan? I think it’s
all part of a potential defence being prepared should ASIC’s investigation into
what Multiplex knew (and when) turns into charges. If the board and management never
knew what day it was, how could they possible mislead the market? Well, mislead
it intentionally anyway.
And while mentioning paying contractors,
while I can’t find the full story on ninemsn anymore, I’ve noticed you can read
the Herald Sun abridged version of Adam
Walters’ nice yarn about of a couple of contractors who’ve been fighting
Multiplex for years here.