Skip to content

That Curajus State

Getting government to do all the green investing might not be quite the right thing:

One of the country’s largest solar farm owners has entered administration amid the fallout from a scandal that forced an Essex council leader to resign.

Administrators at Interpath Advisory have been appointed to Toucan Energy Holdings, which owns a portfolio of 53 solar parks with a combined capacity of 513 megawatts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Thurrock council in Essex, Toucan’s main creditor, borrowed hundreds of millions of pounds to invest in the solar farm scheme run by globetrotting financier Liam Kavanagh.

If politics does the investing then the investing will be done for political reasons just as one example.

And just think of the value of all of those green bonds paying 1% if that route has been chosen instead!

17 thoughts on “That Curajus State”

  1. “Given their significant underlying cash generation, we expect considerable interest in the assets.”

    Obviously not enough cash generation. Solar parks in England. I mean really.
    There was a telecoms company called Toucan that crashed and burned, didn’t any alarm bells go off at that one ?

    Where does a council get £655 million to invest ?

  2. The word “investment” does get the piss taken out of it most largely, doesn’t it? Borrowing to participate in a business venture is in no way investment. It’s speculating on making a turn between the cost of the money & the profit on the business.
    The other one is of course using the word for what is just spending.

  3. Slightly OT, but this is one of Richie’s latest brainfarts on Twitter

    “I was discussing holidays with a good friend and fellow academic. As he put it, thinkers don’t get holidays because they always take the basic tool of their trade with them. I know the problem”

  4. We are constantly told that Fatcher and Them Evil Tories did the nation a disservice by selling council homes and not replacing them, yet local authorities all over the country have had ample opportunity to invest in affordable housing for either sale or rent. With their control of the planning system they are in an unrivalled position to acquire land and develop to a density which makes lower-cost housing viable.

    Instead they have borrowed billions to ‘invest’ in failing real estate assets (buying undistinguished shopping malls in town centres where they restrict parking is a favourite) and now this guff.

    I also have a polite enquiry. Bearing in mind that we have had record electricity prices, that solar gets subsidies and that we are repeatedly told it is the cheapest form of energy, how the fuck did this firm manage to go bust?

  5. I find it impossible to think of Ritchie without the Cockney rhyming slang “banker” roiling around my head. A real majestic Barclays.

  6. how the fuck did this firm manage to go bust?

    Something the article studiously fails to address. Almost as if one cannot question any form of green energy generation even when it goes spectacularly tits up.

  7. Local councils have never had a good reputation for investment acumen. Think of all those pounds that went north to Iceland chasing unrealistic returns. In any case, what are councils doing investing in the first place, let alone borrowing to invest? Apart from keeping some rainy day money somewhere reasonably safe, they should be spending the money extracted by force from ratepayers in doing something useful for those same ratepayers.

  8. Local councils can borrow from central govt at below market interest rates. Many of them thought it was cute to do so, “invest” in operations paying market rates and spend the “gain” on services. Which is great until one leg of the trade fails and you’re on the hook for the balance. Picking up pennies in front of steam rollers…..

  9. Have you seen this blog by the fvckwit:

    “My friend Prem (Lord) Sikka has drawn my attention to this question he asked in the House of Lords:

    To ask His Majesty’s Government what was (1) the estimated total amount of fraud and error loss across all government departments, and (2) the breakdown of these losses by each department, in each of the last five years.

    The answer given:

    Detected Fraud and Error

    There then follows a table showing figures for fraud by department including HMRC, with this important qualifying note:

    *Figures for HMRC and DWP include internal fraud and error only. Tax and Welfare fraud figures are collected and reported separately by HMRC and DWP.

    Grabbing the stick firmly with both hands at the wrong end, Murphy then asks:

    “There are so many questions that this poses. First, how are the figures for HMRC so utterly inconsistent with the tax gap?

    Second, why is the detection rate so abysmally small, at less than 1%?

    Third, what is being to improve this?”

    The man’s a dribbling imbecile.

  10. There was a telecoms company called Toucan that crashed and burned, didn’t any alarm bells go off at that one ?

    I think the alarm bells should have gone off at the combination of ‘solar park’ and ‘Northern Ireland’

  11. how are the figures for HMRC so utterly inconsistent with the tax gap?

    @Bravefart – The closest answer I could get to this was “because HMRC, despite being incompetent idiots, understand the reality of the tax gap (i.e. tax charged via tax received) rather than some fantasy fiction / conspiracy theory where use of capital allowances amounts to theft”.

    To call Richie an idiot is an insult to imbeciles the world over.

  12. “Obviously not enough cash generation. Solar parks in England. I mean really.”

    Solar farms are very profitable, even in the UK, if you develop them from scratch yourself. There’s loads of companies out there doing exactly that right now, I get letters from different ones all the time wanting to do deals on my land to develop solar farms, they wouldn’t be bothering if there wasn’t money in it.

    However thats not what Thurrock council were doing (it would have made sense if they were, they’d have ended up owning loads of profitable solar farms). No they lent lorry loads of cash to a chancer who went out and bought already existing solar farms from other solar developers. All the while creaming off a cut for himself. And probably over paying every time, because what did he care, it wasn’t his money. And when the sums didn’t add up and there wasn’t enough cash coming in from the solar farms to pay the interest on the loans, he convinced the mark to stump up another slug of capital, which was undoubtedly used to pay interest (and himself) until it ran out recently. Cue receivers……

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the ownership of the actual solar farms has been hived off somewhere and the receivers won’t be able to get hold of them to sell.

  13. MC : “how the fuck did this firm manage to go bust?”

    It’s hidden in the article, I think…
    Value of the assets is less than the investment, even if sold. And yet the sites themselves are “profit-generating assets”.

    So the bulk has Disappeared in “Consultancy Fees”, “Salaries”, and “Management”. Possibly also “Taxes” ( something about cheep “useless” land now suddenly becoming Valuable Industrial Property, and council taxes…)

  14. “Possibly also “Taxes” ( something about cheep “useless” land now suddenly becoming Valuable Industrial Property, and council taxes…)”

    That certainly happened in the early stages of solar (and wind) farms. Developers got planning and built the things without really thinking about business rates. Councils didn’t for a while either, it was a whole new area of development, there hadn’t been commercial renewable energy generation sites before. Just a few hippies sticking the odd turbine or solar panel up here and there. But councils soon realised here was a decent seam of money to get their snouts into, so a few years down the line the renewables companies started getting demands for Business Rates. Now its all factored into the financial equations. But it was a bit of a shock for some at the beginning. I can’t think that anyone buying solar farms within the last 5 years would have had any such sudden demands for cash though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *