Due by the 30th September, the Zabaxe accounts for financial year ending December 31st 2013 were filed late on 2nd October and were made available for viewing by Companies House this morning. For those unfamiliar with the story surrounding Zabaxe, their 2012 accounts were analysed on Measured Progress earlier this year. A very quick analysis of the most recent set of financial statements follows…
In terms of the content, it’s a continuation on the theme, but the key points are:
Once again, the auditor A I Cherry, who also audits the accounts for Blackpool FC Limited and Segesta Limited, has only signed off the accounts on a “qualified basis”. The reason given for this was as follows:
“We were unable to obtain sufficient evidence about the recoverability, and hence the carrying amount, of the amounts owed by certain related parties, namely House of Roma Limited, The Lancashire & North West Magazine Limited and Entertainment Apps Limited and other debtors which remain outstanding”
Basically, the auditor is saying that he is not confident the monies loaned by Zabaxe to these other Oyston companies can ever be repaid, presumably as they are loss-making / negative net worth. And the money being loaned by Zabaxe to these various companies, is of course the £11m out of Blackpool FC Limited’s Premier League money paid to Owen Oyston via Zabaxe in 2010/11.
The total loans outstanding to related Oyston business is currently:
- £277,165 – House of Roma Limited
- £70,402 – Denwis Limited
- £102,174 – Tangerine Productions Limited
- £564,156 – Claughton Hall Bisons Limited
- £314,007 – The Lancashire Magazine Limited
- £1,189,957 – Natfarm Limited
- £172,167 – Oyston Estates Limited
- £41,248 – Segesta Limited
- £19,200 – Entertainment Apps Limited
- TOTAL = £2,750,473
For their part, the directors of Zabaxe, Owen, Vicki and Karl Oyston have stated in the accounts that they believe the loans will be repaid without issue:
“The directors are confident that all amounts will be repaid in the fullness of time.”
We shall have to see in time whether this is the case.
House of Roma Limited
Despite the auditor’s concern, Zabaxe has seen fit to loan an additional £125k to House of Roma Limited, the textiles, clothing, fur, footwear and leather goods business founded in November 2011 by then 20-year old Ms Lamara Roma, a one-time employee of Owen Oyston’s Lancashire Life magazine, working on fashion & beauty articles.
As of last year Zabaxe had outstanding loans of £152,165 to House of Roma, which has now increased to £277,165. As well as the increased financial support, Zabaxe has made House of Roma a subsidiary company. The reason behind this is unclear, as is the continued investment into a business which the auditor has severe doubts about.
Payments charged to Zabaxe by Oyston companies
For the second consecutive years, some of the companies to which Zabaxe is loaning money, charged Zabaxe for services rendered in unrelated transactions. In 2012, Denwis Limited charged £188,158 to Zabaxe and Oystons Limited charged £100,000. In 2013, these figures were reversed and Oyston Limited charged £188,158 to Zabaxe with Denwis Limited charging £100,000.
Combined, this takes it to a sum of £576,316 over the course of two years that Zabaxe has paid to Denwis Limited and Oystons Limited for unknown services. Given the size of Zabaxe, and that it essentially only acts as a shell company, it is difficult to work out quite what these services are that it is paying for.
However, at the same time, both Denwis Limited and Oystons Limited have been able to pay down their loans which they owed to Zabaxe.
Current cash position
Of the £11m that was paid to Zabaxe in 2011, the cash at bank balance has now sunk to just £4.7m. The impact of corporation tax paid in 2012, plus various loans and payments going out to other Oyston-owned business, less than half of the original amount now remains in cash form.
The infamous statement at the time to explain the payment was:
“But the money is in an Oyston company; the football club is an Oyston company too, and that money is there should we require it.”
Well, £4.7m of it is there anyway. Of which it is yet to come back into the football club from which it originated.
Let’s not forget, had the money not been paid by Blackpool FC Limited into Zabaxe Limited in 2012, the club would only have incurred a tax bill of just under £3m – very similar to the one incurred by Zabaxe when they received the £11m – with the balance of over £8m being available to the club, be it for player investment, stadium maintenance, or training ground development. One suspects that £8m might have been particularly useful in avoiding the current predicament the club finds itself in.
Once more, it is a disheartening read when examining these accounts and only goes to reinforce that the Oyston family, in their stewardship of the club (and its associated entities) are not putting football first. The financial situation, paired with the on-field misery, paints a pretty grim picture.