Evil Knievil: Leaks

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Evil Knievil: Leaks
Master Investor Magazine

Master Investor Magazine Issue 58

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I have been sent some notes on Reach (LON:RCH), the former Trinity Mirror. There is clearly some heavy-duty litigation on its way, totting up to many hundreds of millions of pounds by way of losses in due course. Phone-hacking does this to a newspaper.

Intangibles as at 30th June 2019 came to £860m and shareholders’ equity, if the intangibles are not amortised, to £580m. As against that RCH is capitalised at £480m on the basis of a 158p share price.

Unless one is ensconced in the legal department of RCH, it is quite impossible to take a guess at how far the £580m gets written down. But it will clearly be very substantial.

The chart seems very bullish but although one should hold back from shorting this stock for the time being a day to do so looks to be coming.


Fifteen years ago or so I reckoned that house prices were (yet again) going mad and proposed a levy (perhaps 200%) to be applied to council tax. It had to be sensible to render the cost of owning property an expensive affair.

My other reason, peculiar to London – where of course the grotesque silliness was so marked, was that for a city to work both culturally and economically requires populated streets. Empty houses do not engender that result and overseas holders of such property do not use their properties full time.

I have had to wait these fifteen years, but HMG is clearly at last veering towards what is floated as a “mansion tax” based on council tax. (Ed: Knievil, take a bow.)

In the same SunTel lead story, which is surely a Treasury leak, is the idea that pension savings contributions be restricted yet further. This is bound to happen since the day when one cannot earn enough to pay one’s outgoings remains very obvious and that therefore it is not necessary to subsidise preparation for that day, particularly given that HMG remains so heavily in debt.

I suppose that Treasury ministers cannot bring themselves to bring this juddering waste of administrative expenses incurred by savers to an end. So that end is not to be achieved right now. However, we are going there.


My wife and I saw The Lighthouse yesterday evening. It is an astonishingly bad film. It’ll be off in a few days since the theatre is virtually empty. However, this gives an opportunity for those who like snogging in cinemas. Particularly given the fact that the film never engages anyone and since the lighting is so bad. A case of first served, first come.

Elsewhere, we are chucking out an eighteen-inch pile of theatre programmes from the past. If this is a reader’s bag will he/she get in touch today (7835 0868) and take them away? A case of first come, first served.

Comments (4)

  • Mark Charlwood says:

    Bangkok has just overhauled property taxes and prices are falling at last.

  • J Lyons says:

    You cannot be serious threatening to short RCH on a P/E of 4 which is throwing off so much cash that it has wiped out a large nett debt position.
    My investment has already approximately doubled in value already and it still looks very undervalued.

  • philip baker says:

    REA update.
    As long as things do not get worse preference divi will be paid and arrears will begin to be caught up with.
    The update is below.
    With the combined benefit of a range of cost saving initiatives implemented in 2019 and further cost saving steps being taken in 2020, as well as the recent strengthening of the CPO price, the directors expect that the group can look forward to higher revenues and tightly controlled costs in 2020. Because crops and cash flow are normally weighted to the second half of the year, the benefits of these improvements are unlikely to be fully apparent in the results for the first half of 2020.

    The group is now working on arrangements regarding refinancing of the £30.9 million nominal of 8.75 per cent sterling notes 2020 that fall due for repayment in August 2020.

    Provided that substantially all the sterling notes are successfully refinanced, crops continue to achieve budgeted levels and the CPO price is at least maintained around current levels, the directors intend to resume payment of cash dividends on the group’s preference shares in 2020. The directors also plan progressively to catch up the arrears of dividend on the preference shares, commencing in 2020 with a payment of 1 per cent per share at the end of March 2020

  • Daniel Victor says:

    Surely a huge mistake to restrict pension contributions,given that pensions are a sitting duck for tax raids !

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