Friday, June 27, 2008
Newspaper The Guardian reports today that the sale of the BBC subsidiary BBC Resources Ltd., has cost £3.4m in consultancy fees — over £1m more than the £2.3m trading profit the commercial division is estimated to have made for the last financial year. Details of the failed privatisation were released by the BBC following a freedom of information request, and prior to publication of its annual report on July 8.
Fourteen months after advisers were appointed to try to sell BBC Resources Ltd., only one of the three main business units has been sold — its Outside Broadcast division to Satellite Information Services Limited (SIS), for an estimated £20m. On March 7, 2008 it was also announced that the studios operation would remain in BBC ownership and in early June, the fate of the third business was put on hold with the BBC stating that “like Studios, Post Production will remain within BBC Resources, which will continue to operate as a wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of the BBC.”
BBC Resources Ltd. made an operating profit of £6.1m for 2005-06, down from £7.4m the year before, with the BBC accounting for 83.3% of its turnover, down from 87.4% for 2004-05. Last year’s published figure for 2006-07 was £5.2 million — with BBC business at 80% of turnover.
BECTU Assistant General Secretary Luke Crawley is quoted as saying: “It’s fairly outrageous that around half the profit of the company [announced last year] has been spent trying to sell it. It’s an inordinate amount of money. The BBC was promised big returns if it sold BBC Resources but it’s only managed to sell outside broadcasts and we do not know how much it made out of that. We think the £3.4m is a poor investment.”