Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Economics 1/6/2010: Numbers game at Anglo

Last night, I sat down to run through possible scenarios for the Anglo's 'The Bad and the Ugly' Banks division. You see, something was telling me right off the start that the idea of a 'Good' Bank just doesn't really square off with our knowledge of the bank's operations to date.

So I posited to myself the following question: given Nama transfers and rumored split off of €12-15bn worth of loans into a 'good' bank, can the resulting entity be viable? Like a scientist in a lab, I donned on a white coat (well, really my favorite UofChicago sweatshirt), pulled out a Petri dish (my Excel) and started observing the split of that outright not-so-beautiful and very toxic (to the taxpayers) bacteria, called Anglo...

Here are the results, first in numbers and then in plain English:

Step 1: recall we have pumped €10.3 billion worth of promisory notes into the bank alone. Relying on my yesterday's analysis (see details here), I reproduced the demand that a 'Good' Anglo will generate for funding these promisory notes. Now, a reminder - these numbers (penultimate column) correspond to interest only charge on Anglo from the promisory notes. They exclude principal repayment and other recapitalization funding already in the bank.
Bah, I said, the thing in the Petri dish of mine looks pretty ugly. Ugly as in unable to cover the taxpayers-due interest on capital it receives at the first glance.

Ok, I said to myself, but may be were the new 'Good' bank to grow over time, it will become relatively viable with time? Suppose the 'Good' bank generates no impairments going forward (unrealistic assumption, but suppose it does), suppose that 'Good' Anglo grows its book at 5% (generating no new impairments). Further suppose that there's some value in the 'Bad' bank - so assume 20% of the loans transferred to it perform in the future (an extremely optimistic assumption, but what the h***ll, not much out of line with the general assumptions the Government has been making all through its management of the crisis).

The question I asked then was: with all these rosy assumptions in place, what amount of interest payments annually can Anglo afford?

To compute this, I took several scenarios:
  1. I allowed 'Good' Anglo to take €12 or €15 billion in loans on board;
  2. I assumed that it generates 2% of the loan book annually (another optimistic assumption - as it corresponds to an efficiently operating bank in terms of costs, book of business and funding costs - all of which are not exactly characteristic of the Anglo)
  3. I then assumed three different potential burden levels on interest (recall, no principal) repayment at 30% of the total annual return by the bank, 25% and 20%. Let me explain here that a 30% number is utterly unrealistic, implying that almost a third of the entire operating revenue of the bank will be used to pay interest on a small share of its capital funding. This will, in effect, leave no surplus to pay bonuses (of any kind) and dividends (of any kind) as well as to finance bank's insurance etc. 25% mark is also unrealistic, while 20% is back-breaking for a bank, but can be probably sustained over a couple of years.
Table below shows the results by stating the amount of interest repayment that the bank can generate across both its 'Good' and 'Bad' divisions. Blue-bold numbers mark the first time that the annual interest funding requirement gets met.
All of this is fine, I said to myself next, but before the interest requirement is first met on the annual basis, there are years of the bank not covering the interest bills. These will cumulate.

My next question, therefore was: How soon can the bank break into the 'black' vis-a-vis interest repayment alone?
Table above shows the cumulated interest arrears from the €10.3 billion in promisory notes. It clearly shows that under all scenarios, save one (the most optimistic scenario) the entire Anglo operation cannot be expected to generate enough cash to cover even the portion of its interest bill. In fact, under the more realistic scenario (last two columns), Anglo - 'Bad' and 'Good' combined - will continue to accumulate interest arrears on the taxpayers funds (ex €4 billion in direct capital it received) through 2020.

There is no principal repayment charge in the above, nor is there a chance of receiving anything close to the interest bill, even assuming that we do not roll up interest on the cash we put in. In simple words - the entire Anglo operation is so fundamentally bust, that the taxpayer is likely to never receive even a few cents on the euro of the money we've put into it.

The only thing that grew in my Petri dish was a voracious bacteria capable of hoovering taxpayers money at a speed unimaginable to any other bank.

One wonders if that is what Mr Alan Dukes and our Government mean when they are saying that proceeding with keeping Anglo on a respirator amounts to minimizing the cost to the taxpayers.
Post a Comment