The media had some fun
over the weekend pointing out the Millionaire Factory was now literally
making money out of thin air after Macquarie Capital led a consortium
that bought the world’s biggest tyre inflation equipment vending
company, ASI Holding Corp, for $570 million.

Yes, yes, Macquarie charges every fee in the book on every asset in the
book and is now the world’s biggest non-government owner of
infrastructure.

Crikey recently revealed that Graeme Barclay, the Macquarie
Bank-appointed CEO of Broadcast Australia, loves to use the expression
“sweating the assets”, but never did we realise that Macquarie
Communications Infrastructure Group, which owns BA and controls all the
towers which keep the ABC and SBS on the air, seems to take this
literally.

In summer, have a look at the Broadcast Australia network operations centre
at Gore Hill, where the ABC used to be based nationally. On really hot days there is a BA employee hosing down the wall of
the operations centre that faces the sun to cool it down: there’s now so
much new digital and radio (eg Nova, FBi etc) transmission kit inside the old transmission
building designed for analogue kit that the air-conditioning system can’t cope.

Surely Mr Barclay isn’t so tight that spending $100,000 installing
proper cooling systems is more sensible than paying someone $100 a day
literally to water the tower. What would the ABC think if they knew
this? They do now and our prediction is that MCG will spend the money
before next summer.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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