Outlook: Poor old Mr Hawker is on a Hyder to nothing
Friday 10 December 1999
But is Graham Hawker chastened? Not a bit of it. In fact, it is water off a duck's back Extraordinarily for someone who has presided over such a heroic destruction of shareholder value, Mr Hawker remains rather pleased with himself.
Only in the narrowest of senses, has his strategy been vindicated, in that Hyder has met all its cost reduction targets. But it has been like pushing water up hill. While Mr Hawker and his chums in Cardiff have been slapping themselves on the back over the manpower reductions achieved by forcing water and electricity to mix, no-one has noticed the ship sinking under its sea of debt.
Now that they belated have spotted the leaks in the balance sheet, it is all hands to the pump. Not only is Hyder looking at a bumper rights issue to keep its head above water, but everything and anything is up for sale in a desperate bid to lighten the load. True to form, Mr Hawker looks upon this as decisive management action. Others look agog at how Hyder overstretched itself in the first place, paying pounds 821m for Swalec in 1996 and doubling its exposure to regulatory risk into the bargain.
Mr Hawker reckons no-one could reasonably have foreseen the clobbering the utility sector would take, first from the windfall tax and then a series of swingeing regulatory price reviews. Perhaps they never read the opinion polls in south Wales showing Labour ahead by a country mile and Gordon Brown preparing to pounce with his well-trailed levy.
Hyder has had to contend with Ofwat and Ofgem and the Environment Agency. There is a certain irony now in the fact that it could be the Welsh Assembly which delivers the coup de grace by imposing an even bigger environmental clean-up programme on Welsh Water than Mr Byatt proposes.
Blase beyond belief, Mr Hawker, shrugs all this off and says he detects no shareholder pressure to resign. He is, he says, fond of gardening but not ready to take it up permanently. But horticulturally speaking his strategy is six feet under which is also where the chief executive surely ought to be.
Malaysia Airlines plane crash exposes alarming flaw in airline security: over one billion flights made last year without stolen-passport check
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 4 Russia has made 'big miscalculation' over Ukraine warns Hague
- 5 Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
iJobs Money & Business
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£37000 - £40000 per annum + £20000 benefits package: Pro-Recruitment Group: **...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Mixed Ta...