Often Partisan

Kung Hei Fat Choi

Today marks the first day of the Lunar New Year in China – a time for celebration, for looking to the future and for wishing for health, wealth and happiness. For Birmingham City, one out of three wouldn’t be bad.

The Birmingham Mail reported yesterday that Carson Yeung has been talking to business contacts of his with a view to purchasing Birmingham City from Birmingham International Holdings. The report goes on to say that the announcement made by BIH to the Stock Exchange on Thursday afternoon was regarding a company that had been contacted by Carson.

As can be imagined, this story has gone down like a lead balloon online. There seems to be a feeling that any sale has to be a completely clean break – any links to the current regime will (in the eyes of some fans) make new owners guilty by association and will raise the same distrust and unhappiness that is currently directed at the present board. I have to admit myself that whilst I don’t feel the same vitriol that some do towards Carson and co that I would have misgivings if this came to pass and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with it.

What makes me feel worse is that there is precedent for Carson doing this in the past, at his newspaper Sing Pao. Carson isn’t on the board there and exercises no control over the company (although his brother-in-law Ma Shui Cheong is an executive director) whilst remaining the largest single shareholder in the company. Whilst there would be complications due to his ongoing court case and the Football League Owners and Directors test I can see it not being beyond the realms of probability that Carson arranges things so that he still keeps a stake in the club whilst new people come in to run it.

However, saying that it could happen is very different to it actually happening. As I said on Friday, the approach was nothing more than a tentative look at maybe, possibly, buying the club and the fact is that there is a long way to go before any deal could be close. I’m not of the belief that any sale will be a quick easy job – indeed, I suspect that with Carson’s current legal issues any sale will be carefully scrutinised by the regulatory authorities and the imposition of a compliance advisor on BIH should help force things to be done in a completely proper manner. If I was asked my personal gut feel about this my honest answer is that I think it will come to nought.

Birmingham City fans won’t be the only ones hoping for future wealth. The longer the sale process drags on, the more it could potentially hurt BIH. For example, in August of this year there will be two loans made by former board member Yang Yuezhou come to maturity. Firstly, a loan of HK$79.5mil (£6.5mil) will come to maturity around the start of August and providing Mr Yang hasn’t taken the share option BIH will have to pay the full whack with a five percent interest. Secondly, an unsecured loan facility was extended to the company on August 31 2011 for HK$80mil (again, around £6.5mil) with a whopping interest rate of 12%. Until the accounts have been produced for BIH we don’t know how much of this loan facility has been utilised but a worst case scenario could see BIH liable for £13mil plus in August – and I have to say, the assumption would be that they don’t have that sort of cash to pay it back. One of the most intriguing things in the soon-to-be-produced accounts will be just how much debt that BIH find themselves in and how soon they have to service it.

On the second day of the Chinese New Year, there is a custom in the Hong Kong business community to say a prayer (called “Hoi Nin”) so that they will be blessed with luck and prosperity for the year ahead. I sincerely hope someone hears Carson’s prayers.

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56 Responses to “Kung Hei Fat Choi”

  • skareggae72 says:

    Love the title,i think my gal got me that from the takeaway tonight.

  • chudl says:

    We have an ancient English saying ” Out of the frying pan into the fire”

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

    The whole BIH set up and it’s effect on our club should be investigated.

    Sham companies running football clubs should not be allowed, there is no need I can see we’ve always ran ourselves and day to day still do. So BIH, what is it doing, why is it there? It produces no goods or services yet like every other business is set up with a clear agenda for profit.

    Only one way they can make money as far as I can see.

    • carlos says:

      Exactly Paul, BCFC is a fully functioning company in its own rights, why do we need another layer on top- to create uncertainty and lack of clarity that’s why.

    • Jimbo says:

      I deal with investment firms on a regular basis at work. You’d be surprised how frequent investors set up single purchase vehicle companies to make acquisitions. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. The companies are set up to create a viable pot to collate funds before buying. They limit the risk of passing on debt to parent companies. If tesco went in to buy proud land for example, they might set up an SPV for the purchase so that if pound land went bust then Tesco wouldn’t have to foot the bill as they remain a separate entity.

      As for the loan repayments; we need to sell a shed load of tickets and shortstop fill up the coffers if those loans were passed on to the club. It’ll be interesting to see what interest rate the club pays to BIH if they took a loan rather than been given the cash.

  • SussexWill says:

    I have no real beef or horse (beef, Findus style)with Carson or Peter Pan, I have always thought they were misguided but other than that not too bad until Carson was accused of money laundering and his assets were frozen, I do not care who owns us providing we are competitive and solvent. I don’t have to like the owners, I love Birmingham City, I really just hope whoever buys us or reinvests in us, loves the club as much as I do and we the fans should just get behind the club. If you can afford to go and support the Blues do so, if you can’t save up until you can, as that is what following the Blues is all about. St Andrews on a Saturday watching the Blue Boys. Not who the owners are. We’ve had worse.

    I read this blog and many others as it is a good way of keeping in touch with news from home as I live in West Sussex and I will get to half of the home games this year as I have young family and they need my attention and money, but hey all have blues shirts and when they are old enough I will take them on the pilgrimage to St Andrews. So I plead with all fellow blue noses…… Please don’t put off new investment from where ever it comes from,even if it is From Carson yeung, as it doesn’t matter who owns us it’s ALL about the Blues!

  • chris says:

    There is some more info on:
    Whether it is true or not only time will tell, but i feel the biggest problem here is Yeung’s ego, in wanting to be involved in a UK football team.
    Hope i’m wrong and he has had enough and wants to get out.

  • DoctorD says:

    Bit of a thin Mail article really. I predict Yeung will stay on but with a new stream of (fairly modest) investment.

    • StevieW says:

      Doctor D This is fast becoming my view aswell.

      I think the buying/selling of the club is smoke and mirrors to what is really happening , which is a trawl of the financial world that CY and PP knows to get funds to continue the ownership of the club not to get rid.

  • chris says:

    Don’t we allegedly owe BIHL £6 million which would pay off one of these loans that BIHL took out.

    How about the loans we had from BIHL and Carson without anything in writing.
    Could this be a stumbling block with new owners, who may say they won’t pay these alleged debts as
    a) there is no written loan agreement and
    b) the prospective new owners may allege the money was a gift to the club, not a loan.

  • Art Watson says:

    We can all speculate but truth is the fans are helpless and we will have to be content with what we get.

    We then have choices.

    Back them or walk away!

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

    Oh the irony.

  • pete says:

    The key for me is Carson saying he’s “trying” to get investment. They’ve been trying for over a year and anyone mad enough to lump money into something he’s involved in must be crazy considering how it went down the first time!

  • Mark says:

    My message to Carson Tā mā de guānbì

  • Kimberley Blue says:

    I doubt any Chinese / Hong Kong group will want to buy into BCFC while we play in Royal blue and are called the Blues supported by bluenoses.. Blue in China is an unlucky colour they prefer red or yellow..
    Unless they make us do a Cardiff and we can all become Rudulph the red nose supporters

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

    Didn’t stop Carson

  • BobBobandTrev says:

    An observation: Gareth “Ronaldo” Bale, just watched MOTD geez he really thinks he’s Ronaldo, same haircut spray tan and even stands like him at free kicks!!!
    All he needs to do now is learn Portugese and have plastic surgery on his Knobly knees lol.
    Seriously, good defensive display overall yesterday worth the travel to see the despair on the Charlton players faces as history repeated itself.
    We kept right on again!!!
    To the end of the road

  • Bluenosesol says:

    So in the Chinese New Year we wish for Health? One of our contributions as a club is to enable the enjoyment of watching the Blues to our disabled supporters. At Charlton, we only managed to fill half the away stand, so the bottom half was allocated in front of the disabled supporters platform, who have no choice but to sit down. When the announcer asked the Blues supporters to sit down for the sake of our disabled supporters, the Blues fans defiantly remained standing and sung “We are Birmngham City We Will do What we Want”. Not my proudest moment as a Blues Fan.

  • BobBobandTrev says:

    It would seem things are “afoot” in Hk, a few well educated and well informed guesses would seem to be not too wide of the mark!!!
    If the rumours are to be believed this new consortium have the funding to take blues to the next level, and good sporting links, 6-7 rich (not mega) investors mitigate the risk.
    Multi-media and telecoms moguls fronted by a well known brand adds up to a bright future
    Happy new year!!!, maybe.

    To the end of the road.

  • Steve-0 says:

    Looks like this man will bring the club to its knees to service his own desires and ego.

    I sincerely hope, Carson is guilty and goes to prison, no buyers are forthcoming in the Far East and somebody on these shores buys the club and puts this nightmare behind us.

    I know football is about dreams, but it is NOT going to happen while this selfish imp has control.

  • tamuffblue says:

    comment edited

  • Lorenzo says:

    comment edited

  • BobBobandTrev says:

    Having a bad Sunday Tamuff? Under these so called con-men we have won a major trophy,played in Europe again, so we’re having a bad season so far, circumstances have been against us and uncertainty remains. Coventry City can’t even afford the rent on their ground, things are not as bad as you make out and your glass is always half empty, as things progress you will be forced to eat your words IMO.
    Lets all get down to the ground and support the team we love we have two huge games coming up

    To the end of the road.

  • tamuffblue says:

    still distributing fliers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • andy says:

    It seems that noone, other than the Paladini consortium, is prepared to buy the football club and even that offer is nowhere near enough for Carson, forget Pannu, Carson controls everything. In a desperate attempt to save the club and his investment Carson is going around, cap in hand, with Pannu, looking for investors because nobody will buy the club from him. Im afraid we will have to bite the bullet and accept the current regime will not be going away.

  • marky mark says:

    Pannu will only sell the club if the deal is right for CY. Or he will look for investment and hold onto his shares, its his money at stake and he has every right to make those choices, anybody who thinks the club or the fans will be considered in this are deluded, nobody was moaning when things were going well.

    CY is innocent until proven guilty don’t forget, although some of our fans have already sentenced him, the same fans who think they no how to manage the team and run the club

  • Bluenosesol says:

    If someone asked me if I would be happy if CY and PP had never heard of BCFC then its an emphatic yes. If someone asked if I am happy the way CY and PP have conducted themselves and kep the fans informed, that would be an emphatic no. Would I like CY to make a come back even if he is proven not guilty, well? No!.
    That having said, I am stiil of the opinion that CY invested into Birmingham City and took on huge personal risks for what he believed was the good of the club and his dream was to make Blues an unmitigated success. So that said, his business skills and judgement have failed both him and us horrendously. Nevertheless, I pray that Carson is found not guilty, and that he redeems himself in both reputation and personal financial viability. To that end, I really can not understand the depth of hatred and any desire that our fellow human should be destroyed and incarcerated. Good luck with the trial, best wishes for your future, but please read the signals and move on, it really is in everyone’s interest.

  • Julian Glass says:

    CY will get bu%%er all from a sale, so you can’t blame him for wanting to find a way a protecting as much as his investment as possible through some form if consortium

  • Poppa999 says:

    I have been saying for weeks now that I fear the club will go into administration and the present owners in another guise will by us, thus absolving themselves of the debt.

    • almajir says:

      That makes no sense – because the club’s debt is to THEM.

    • Julian Glass says:

      As Alj says this would mean they would be writing off the monies owed to them. Do you not see that?

    • steve-0 says:

      If you go into administration though, I don’t think it is your choice who the club gets sold to. That’s the job of the adminstrator. Unless you employ a ruthless tactic like Ken Bates did with Leeds and threaten to take the Adminstrators to court if they don’t sell it back to you, then that is a strategy thwart with risk.

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