A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Northern Rock or Northern Rubble?

When the "Credit Crunch" swept across the Atlantic and engulfed the antics of the so-called financiers, Northern Rock was the first real casualty. It was by no means the only financial institution to be seen as having a less than "robust" business model. However, others were able to draw their horns in before they too got caught.

Northern Rock, by sucking up huge amounts of government money, and with a depressed share value is a real headache for all concerned. The staff pension fund is woefully under-funded and the company has had a huge reliance on borrowed money. Shareholders in particular are having a bad time. How are they to be treated? Some may say they have only themselves to blame. I think this may be a lesson for us all. That large corporations can no longer play along as spivvy cowboys, endangering the prospects of staff, shareholders, and customers. Too many occasions have seen secretive deals, reckless policies, and a cavalier attitude to others.

Now here's the real Credit Crunch. Shareholders want a bigger say in the bank's sale process, but analysts want to keep things as they are. Today's meeting in Newcastle is including a demand that shareholders have a greater say. So the new mood is about control.

On one side are the corporate managers and analysts, wanting to retain their positions without undue influence and on the other side are institutional and small shareholders keen to flex their muscles. There could well be blood on the carpet, but Northern Rock has told us all one thing. There's no going back!


Brown and Darling dithering doesn't help either.

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