MP reports back from meeting with Wightlink Bosses

Andrew Turner reports a frank, open and helpful meeting with Wightlink bosses

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Further to last week’s report when Andrew Turner asked Islanders to send their questions for Wightlink owners, he reports back from his meeting with Wightlink’s Chairman and Chief Executive. Ed


The Island’s MP Andrew Turner on Tuesday met Gordon Parsons, Wightlink Chairman and Senior Managing Director of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, who own Wightlink. Russell Kew, Wightlink’s Chief Executive also attended the meeting together with Paul Brown, a non-executive Director of the company.

Mr Turner was accompanied by Peter Bonnell, an accountant who lives in Yarmouth who had raised questions about the companies’ tax affairs at a public meeting about the cuts to ferry services at the beginning of January.

A frank, open and helpful meeting
“Mr Parsons requested this meeting following an exchange of letters about the financial structure of Wightlink and their tax affairs. He particularly wanted to make the points that they have made £68m of capital expenditure in Wightlink since they acquired the business and that £1m is also spent each year in marketing the Isle of Wight as a destination.

“It was a frank, open and helpful meeting at which Wightlink told us that it has an open relationship with HMRC and is already in dialogue with them about some of the issues we raised. Many of the questions I had about the structure of the company were answered and I was particularly glad that Peter Bonnell was also able to attend and assist me with this process.”

Get involved in Solent Ferry User Group
He went on to say, “I was pleased to hear that Wightlink’s management has already met the new Solent Ferry User Group, and they have undertaken to engage constructively with them, so I hope that similar questions in future can be raised through that forum. I urge all those concerned about our lifeline ferry services to get involved in the Group and I look forward to playing my part.”

Mr Bonnell commented : “I appreciated the opportunity to ask detailed questions about Wightlink and its structure and financing. Mr Parsons has promised to get back to me with information which was not to hand on the day. I appreciate that and look forward to receiving his response.”

Image: Tim Pearce under CC BY 2.0

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Thursday, 7th February, 2013 8:57am

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4 Comments

  1. mat's comment is rated +4 Vote +1 Vote -1

    7.Feb.2013 12:08pm

    If Turner thinks he can get away with this he’s got another think coming. So he reckons they have opened the books and the slate is clean does he? Well let’s be clear, it isn’t and to imply that was all the public meeting was about doesn’t wash for a minute. They might have answered your questions the way you wanted to hear but that isn’t satisfactory for us. Macquarie Wightlink need to provide a proper service at a reasonable price or quit. Never mind trying to flog us a sop with your £1m advertising. Turner is trying to sideline the unions and just acknowledge the User Group, who we have heard nothing about since.Come on Turner don’t just wash your hands of it, islanders expect more, we want a proper public service.

    Reply
  2. Bay boy's comment is rated -1 Vote +1 Vote -1

    7.Feb.2013 2:51pm

    And just who do you think is going to rush to take over a barely tenable business then Mat? You must really stop believing the rubbish that idiots put about that Wightlink makes huge profits. I’m afraid that ‘the Unions’ live in a world of their own and don’t see common sense. A business must be profit making or it fails and hundreds of people lose their jobs – fact.

    Reply
    • wightywight's comment is rated +2 Vote +1 Vote -1

      7.Feb.2013 7:11pm

      @badboy:

      Quite. However, Wightlink DO make a profit….. £8.5M last year……but wait!
      The interest on £250M at 18%pa (around £40M) has already been paid from the company pre- accounts to….. an International conglomerate (part of whom is) based in Luxembourg and whom also own……..Wightlink!

      Get it?

      You lend yourself (let’s not argue pedantics about the operating names of entities) £250M to buy a business. Charge interest …at 18% (get that? 18% ….where in the world can you get 18% interest on your money…oh wait, it’s when and where you own the company you lend it to…!).
      Then take that amount , naturally (?) from trading figures before declaring pre-tax profits …then, and only then, pay tax on the net profit…….of £8.5M !
      Whatever you are rambling on about profits clearly both morally (shipping inflated interest payments on loans abroad) it makes no sense and, £8.5M declared profit in UK also makes no sense that a company HAS to make a profit.
      In your carefully calculated assessment of this matter, what in your opinion (for it can be no more than an *opinion*) is a reasobale amount of profit..? One which would not concern you to mention that profits were (or were not) being made..?
      Would £50M do it? How about £100M..? How about £1M….?
      By the way, Accounts are, for the most part, publicly available documents… no guessing required or “idiots” to broadcast rubbish. Just plain, clear, unambiguous facts….Wightlink make a profit….and not a bad one at that.
      Maybe not enough for Macquerie…but enough anyway…

      WW

      Reply
  3. Louis Lawrence's comment is rated +1 Vote +1 Vote -1

    7.Feb.2013 3:10pm

    Some years agop I reviewed the Monopolies Commission report on the ferries and lack of competition. They found ( not surprising!) that there was not a monopoly . My findings were that firstly a pyramid of companies had Lloyds bank at its apex and that landing rights along the Solent were exclusive to British Ports and Harbours company ( eg; Lloyds Bank) No ship can land cargo or use Portsmouth or Southampton without their say so and paying the dues ( including the Navy!) It follows that no other potential ferry provider can do business without ABPH. If that is not a Monopoly , I wonder what in the world is ?
    It is Lloyds Bank we should be dealing with. And who owns Lloyds- we do !

    Reply

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