Guardian News and Media made an annual loss of £30.4 million last year, as hard as they try to spin it that still means they are haemorrhaging half a million quid a week. Guardian Media Group made an operating loss of £54.8 million last year, reporting profits before tax of £22.7 million. Presumably meaning their profits after tax were £22.7 million. For three years Guido has been asking GMG where their 50.1% stake in TMG (Autotrader) is held. Guido has asked the GMG CEO Andrew Miller and Alan Rusbridger, who to be fair – despite sitting on the GMG board – admitted he had no idea. Also fortuitously Guido was sat at a lunch next to Dame Liz Forgan chair of the Scott Trust, asked her about GMG’s offshore secrets and she said Guido was the last person she would tell. So much for that famed commitment to openness and transparency. Still no answer, we’re working on the theory that they have created an aggressive tax avoidance structure – solely to avoid UK tax – maintaining for 7 years an offshore Cayman’s holding corporation.*
Some good news though: the Guardian annual report says their hedge fund investments and investments exploiting third world emerging markets are performing well. Alan Rusbridger meanwhile took home total remuneration of £491,000, with chief executive Andrew Miller pocketing £769,000, including a £100,000 bonus fat-cat bonus putting him on some 72 times the earnings of the Guardian’s lowest paid staff. Austerity is only for the staff…
*If any bean counters have any ideas as to why Trader Media Group’s financing costs are so high when it is so profitable, please share in the comments, could it be that they loaded the onshore part of the group up with debt that is serviced by paying the interest, presumably tax-free, offshore to the GMG Caymans holding company? They then can use the tax free profits to support the loss making journalism? Does that theory make sense? How exactly does the money flow from TMG to GMG?
See also Guardian’s Offshore Secrets