Here is another article by almajir on finances. He posted it on his own blog here but we have full permission to publish.
The whole subject of the finances has caused debate, but in the spirit of being positive ready for tonight – I thought this was a great read.
An interesting article was posted on the wall of the Official Birmingham City Facebook page today. Published by Sing Pao newspaper in Hong Kong (which is at least part owned by Carson Yeung), and translated via google here. I realise that the translation from the original Mandarin Chinese isn’t the best, but it’s good enough to take a few salient points.
Essentially, it talks about a Kuwaiti investment business, Global Investment House coming into partnership with Birmingham International Holdings, and investing in the company with the view to looking at more land deals in PR China, like the one announced a couple of days ago in Liaoning. There is also the potential for investment the other way, looking at deals in Kuwait and the Middle East.
All well and good you might think, but what does that have to do with Blues? Whilst it’s true that Carson has no responsibility to put any money generated from land deals etc into the club, it’s better for the health of the club that the parent company a) diversifies it’s interests and b) picks up new revenue streams. Indeed, it’s deals like this that confirm more than ever that Carson Yeung is well connected – and in the world of Chinese business, connections and networking are everything.
The investing business are interesting too; they are headed by Maha K. Al-Ghunaim, who has been consistently ranked by Forbes Magazine in the top 100 most powerful women in the world. Clearly, this is no fly-by-night operation; they are an investment fund with around $6billion in deposits. Although they were affected by the global downturn, they pulled through without any defaults on payments and managed to restructure their debts effectively.
All this is good for the club. One refrain I remember clearly from the previous owners reign is that they couldn’t get any outside investment into the club; they were the sole bankroll for the club and I think it ground their gears that nobody else would put in any money to join them. The way they treated Carson after he bought 29.9% probably showed why; despite being the largest single shareholder in the club they denied him the right to a seat on the board for himself or one of his proxies.
Since Carson has come in however, BIH has seen investment from various businessmen in China, all taking a small-ish stake, but bringing more money into the pot via share issues and hopefully adding to our prestige in the People’s Republic of China itself. Whilst some have complained (including me) about a lack of transparency in the ownership of the club, I have to admit I’m starting to think that maybe Carson does have a long term plan and maybe there is a bright future for us.
There are complaints about a lack of investment in the first team in this transfer window; valid complaints in my opinion as we are lacking in numbers and in quality. However, that is something that could be nothing more than a short term hitch. Whilst staying in the Premier League is an essential if we’re to continue as a profitable concern in the short term, in the long term I’d like to see us being taken forwards as a proper club. A training ground we own and develop ourselves would be a good start; some development to the stadium would be nice too. I’m happy if we invest in youthful players with potential rather than keep with the short termism of buying “experienced Premiership players”.
As a club where currently three quarters of our total turnover is money from Sky, it’s a must that we find new revenue streams – Carson may just be the man to do it.