The last day of the profit reporting season is a bit like the annual deluge of political donations figures on February 1 each year – no media outlet ever really properly gets the enormity and detail of what is released.
Last Friday was quite historic in terms of the $5.22 billion in net losses that were announced by ten different ASX-listed vehicles which all dropped more than $100 million.
With Fortescue Metals and ABC Learning still to come, we’ll finish up with almost 30 losses exceeding $100 million. Before this year, 2001-02 was the biggest with 15 thanks to the US recession and the dotcom bust. These lists now include 74 companies that have delivered 105 losses exceeding $100 million in a year.
And who would have thought that almost 10% of the biggest losses announced over the past two decades could happen on the one day. This is how it unfolded on Friday:
9.37am: Allco Finance Group opens proceedings with a net loss of $1.73 billion, the fourth biggest in Australian history behind News Corp’s $12 billion in 2001-02, AMP’s $5.54 billion 2003 and BHP’s $2.3 billion in 1998-99.
9.45am: Not to be outdone, Centro Properties Group claims fourth position, unveiling a $2.05 billion loss, the fourth biggest in history behind
9.49am: sister company Centro Retail backs up its parent with a net loss of $867 million.
9.58am: ERG comes through with a $103.3 million net loss, its third contribution to the biggest losers club.
1.33pm: Babcock & Brown Power joins the club, disclosing a net loss of $426 million for the year.
3.33pm: National Leisure and Gaming slashes the value of its 38 pubs to produce a net loss of $112.6 million. James Hird must be relieved he quit the board last year.
4.35pm: The Allco-managed Rubicon Europe comes up with a $218 million loss for the June half.
4.36pm: Allco’s Rubicon America Trust delivers a $140.6 million loss for the half year.
4.48pm: Allco’s Rubicon Japan Trust reports a full year loss of $185.7 million.
7pm: Allco Hybrid Investment Trust rounds out this record-breaking day with a $149 million net loss for the year.
7.12pm: Allco HIT unveils a $322 million net loss for 2007-08.
By jingo, this means the Allco family started the day with a pre-opening $1.73 billion loss for the parent and then contributed another 5 after the close that added $1.14 billion.
Even better, Allco’s Record Realty, which owns the symbolic ASX headquarters in Sydney, came clean this morning with a $209 million net loss, so the Allco family have just produced $3 billion in losses across seven vehicles.
I’m having a drink with Allco Finance Group CEO David Clarke tomorrow night. As a shareholder in every listed Allco vehicle, it will be his shout.