Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Who is bidding for the Met Office?

In the Pre-Budget Report it was announced that there would be an "Operational Efficiency Programme" that would,
"consider, for a number of Government assets, the potential for alternative business models, commercialisation, new market opportunities and, where appropriate, alternatives to public ownership."
Included in this programme would be a review of the Met Office and "Budget 2009 will report on progress". So basically the Government is considering privatisation and reviewing its option.

It's surprising therefore that in response to a question in Parliament about what estimate the MoD has made on the market value of the Met Office that the answer was as follows,

The Net Book Value of the Meteorological Office's assets as set out in its 2007-08 Annual Report and Accounts is approximately £206 million. I am withholding information on the estimates of the market value of Meteorological Office, as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.
Call me cynical if you must, but that last setnence suggests to me that far from the Government merely considering the "potential" of alternative business models, the decision has already been made and there might even be a bidding process going on already.

9 comments:

IanVisits said...

I find that to be a suspiciously low figure.

In the past few years alone, the Met Office has spent around £60 million on supercomputers (£33 million in 2008 - £27 million in 2004), not to mention purchased of other assets.

I am sure the computer algorithms etc developed by the Met Boffins don't have a zero valuation to them either.

Just a gut reaction, but considering the hardware and software assets, along with the brandname goodwill valuation, I'd have expected a much higher figure.

Another Quinitic?

Ed said...

The net assets of £205 million is simply the historical accounting and is composed of £257 total assets minus £52 million of debts and provisions etc.

I doubt very much that the government (actually the MOD who is the owner of the Met Office technically) will get anywhere near £205 million. A prospective buyer will not look at the net asset value but the underlying future profits that the business can generate. Taking this view the Met Office produced £12.7 million operating profits in the last year and even if you multiply this by 10x (optimistic at best considering the weak investor climate) you only arrive at a 'value' of £127 million - a far cry from the £205 million that has been invested over the years.

T England said...

Dizzy, off topic but have you seen these Iraq Shoe Tosser Guy: The Animated Gifs

There's even a Matrix one :o)

J J said...

I suggest that anyone who bids for the Met office must be able to pronounce 'meteorological' while drunk and sober.

I can't be done !

Merry Christmas

shape shifter said...

Who gives a fuck?

Anonymous said...

Everything now flows to the centre. Our government surrendered to the EU, our Royal Mail is about to become a european entity and the Met Office will become part of a European service. Simple really.

opinionated arrognaut said...

"consider, for a number of Government assets, the potential for alternative business models, commercialisation, new market opportunities and, where appropriate, alternatives to public ownership."

Translation= Flog off as much as possible.

(i.e. because they are up to their eyes in debt.)

How about this for a government efficiency drive? They could stop wasting their time thinking up meaningless drivel and write plain english.

ChrisD said...

I for one would be really sorry to see the Met office sold off.
Its a vitally important asset, relied on by many, especially councils throughout the UK.

Anonymous said...

Is there by any chance an EU regulation driving this?