Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: PBN Holdings Ltd.

Group is hit after adverse valuation

By John Simpson

Pbn Holdings combines the consolidated results for a group of companies in a diverse range of businesses.

The directors describe it as a holding company with subsidiaries in the hotel business, warehousing and storage, retail and wholesale trade in alcoholic and other beverages as well as the development, sale and rental of property.

The company is registered in Northern Ireland although some of its major property assets are in Britain, including the Savoy Centre in Glasgow and the West One Retail Park in Salford. In 2007 and 2008 the company spent £99m acquiring these assets as well as spending over £80m on new capital assets.

In 2009 the company balance sheet was seriously affected by an adverse valuation of the physical assets. An unrealised loss of over £48m was deducted from the value of shareholders' funds. This cancelled out a large part of unrealised capital gains in the previous years.

Pre-tax results have been negative in recent years. In each of the last four trading periods, interest paid on borrowed funds has more than equalled the operating profits. Net interest payments have risen from nearly £16m in 2007 to over £17m in 2008, nearly £20m in 2009, and £17.5m in the recent 18 month period. Consequently, pre-tax losses have been registered. These losses may have peaked in 2009 and in the most recent trading period, whilst still significant, have been much lower at £3.8m.

The consolidated accounts have been heavily influenced by the recent changes in the valuations ascribed to property and the impact of the transfer to Nama late in 2010 of the financing of the major property assets. Bank borrowing against property assets rose from £139m in December 2006 to £317m in December 2009. By June 2011, short term borrowing was £313m. PBN Holdings has reported that it has the necessary cash cover to meet non-secured creditor obligations and liabilities for the foreseeable future until the Group renegotiates long term secured loan facilities with Nama.

PBN Holdings shows a balance sheet value of fixed assets and investments of £280m. When net current assets are taken into account, it is carrying borrowed funds of £313m and shareholders' funds are stated at £10.7m.