Remember the good old days of 2006-07, when there were only four companies — James Hardie, Transurban, Hutchison and Bendigo Mining — which made it onto this list tracking every Australian public company that has ever announced a net loss of more than $100 million.
This chronological version of the list shows that we had a record 29 entries in 2007-08, although seven of them were Allco vehicles.
This year it will be the turn of the Macquarie, Babcock, Mirvac and ING stables to produce multiple entries.
So far this month, we’ve got the following 17 entries for the $100 million loss club based on results for the December half:
AXA Asia Pacific: $279 million loss
CFS Retail: $225 million loss
Challenger Financial Group: $108 million loss
Commonwealth Property Office Fund: $298.6 million loss
Dexus Property Group: $964 million loss
Futuris: $329 million loss
Hutchison Telecommunications: $163 million loss
ING Office Fund: $445 million loss
Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group: $1.1 billion loss
Macquarie DDR: $220 million loss
Macquarie Infrastructure Group: $1.2 billion loss
Macquarie Office: $1.1 billion loss
Mirvac Real Estate Investment Trust: $158 million loss
Mirvac: $645.7 million loss
News Corp: $10 billion loss
Pacifica Group: $242 million loss
Stockland: $726 million loss
And that’s before the dirtiest of all the laundry gets aired in the final days before next Friday’s reporting deadline.
The final tally will exceed the 29 from last year and possibly even approach 40 with the following dead certainties to join the list next week: Babcock & Brown, Babcock & Brown Infrastructure, Babcock & Brown Power, Centro Retail, Centro Properties Group, GPT, ING Community Living, ING Industrial Fund and Oz Minerals.
Then you have the likes of Asciano, Fairfax, Lend Lease and Macquarie Airports which should be on the list of they take a realistic approach to write-downs.
The Millionaires Factory has undoubtedly moved to being a net destroyer of capital this week with the massively indebted Macquarie Infrastructure Group, Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group and Macquarie Office all declaring half year losses exceeding $1 billion courtesy of write-downs.
However, some of the losses should arguably have been much greater.
For instance, US shopping centre fund Macquarie DDR today reported a $220 million net loss, which seems delusional given the minimal write-downs.
The market has given up on Macquarie DDR because of its overwhelming $1.7 billion debt. Yet the directors and auditor James Dunning from PwC have only decided to cut the net tangible asset backing from $1.07 to $1.05 a share when the units have plunged from 80c to just 5c over the past year.
These turkeys still reckon Macquarie DDR is worth $868 million. Have they not noticed the global financial crisis and international property wipe-out? Investors have now put it on the critical list with a market capitalisation of just $48 million.
As the manager, if Macquarie really believes the stock is worth $1.05 why aren’t they launching a full privatisation bid? If not, take the write-down.
Once we hear from Macquarie Countrywide and Macquarie Airports next week, the total declared losses for the group will probably exceed $5 billion. History will show that the vast majority of Millionaries recreated by the Millionaire Factory will be staff. Investors have now lost vast fortunes.
*Listen to Eddie McGuire cravenly plugging his sponsors at the Collingwood AGM last December. The claims about Wizard passing on rate cuts when the big banks don’t has certainly proved to be a complete porkie this week.