Despite not building anything, and therefore not renting out anything either, it seems that Manston based China Gateway International (Commercial Group Properties in old money) have returned to profit! Hurrah!
Our Ken's company went from a whopping pre-tax loss of £8.875m last year to a modest profit of £299,000 for the year to 30 November 2009. Not being of a financial bent, I ran that past Cyril my accountant during our meeting to discuss him flogging me some Lehman Brothers shares, and he says it's pretty impressive!
You may remembrane that there was a bit of controversy concerning a Tesco bag and a jolly to China by senior members of the Thanet Council team round about the time CGI were applying for planning permission to build a Chinese themed business park at Manston in 2008. Well, that's all behind us now, as Ken's sidekick Rob Bolton says in his chairman's report:
My prediction that we would be in a position to commence construction at Manston could not be fulfilled due to the lack of any available development finance in the market place.
Er, no, wait. It's all on again:
However your directors have put into effect a plan to finance the venture through the sale of 'seats' to the Chinese end users of the development and the terms of the contract for the first of these seat sales have been agreed as China still enjoys the levels of annual growth that the West can only dream of during these difficult times. I would like to thank our Bankers and shareholders for their continued support and also our executive directors for their hard work and extensive time and travels within China that has brought about these developments and allowed the project to move forward.
So that's alright then! The plan is now to sell these 'seats' to Chinese investors, who would get the chance to hold promotional exhibitions and have a 365-days-a-year marketing presence in the UK by sitting in six, 150,000 sq ft, industry themed 'hubs' out at Manston. Mind you, that doesn't sound like the job-creating industrial and commercial work our beloved council were sold when planning permission was granted.
And as far as I recall, planning permission was only granted for one such 'hub'. So where are the other five going to be built? And when will planning permission be, er, rubber stamped?
Click here for CGI's results statement
Click here for more on the 2008 planning decision in yourfannitinnit
Click on the label below for my previous drivel on CGI