Inside Money

Business writer David Chaplin blogs on personal finance

Inside Money: 'The Medici' sunk costs

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Like Bridgecorp's adventure, the Poseidon story ends badly, says David Chaplin. Photo / Supplied
Like Bridgecorp's adventure, the Poseidon story ends badly, says David Chaplin. Photo / Supplied

Why so coy, Colin McCloy?

The price fetched by the Bridgecorp receivers, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), for the yacht famously used to schmooze in spray-tanned splendour by the disgraced finance company chief, Rod Petricevic, is hardly a state secret.

In the New Zealand Herald report, McCloy, the PWC bloke in charge of the Bridgecorp receivership that the Medici's buyer, declined to reveal the boat's price tag.

"Mr McCloy said he could not say how much it sold for because the buyer did not want that disclosed," the NZ Herald story says.

As I discussed in a November 2010 blog (where I mistakenly conflated McCloy's name with co-liquidator John Waller - sorry) PWC estimated it would pocket about $250,000 "after the payment of all associated costs" from the sale of the Medici, which, as it turned out, was pretty much on the mark.

According to Company Office documents, the Medici eventually contributed $257,026.52 to the Bridgecorp liquidation pool, this for an asset that was on the books for over $1.6 million.

The MV Medici was owned via an associated Bridgecorp entity, Poseidon Ltd, presumably named after the Greek god of the sea rather than the 1972 classic disaster movie 'The Poseidon Adventure'.

Tragically, 'The Poseidon Adventure' has been re-imagined twice since, including a made-for-TV version. If you are amongst the lucky ones who hasn't seen any of the three versions (I know you haven't read the book), a spoiler follows.

As told by Wikipedia, the story ends badly after the few remaining survivors clamber out of a hole cut in the ship's hull:

"The Poseidon is too badly damaged to remain afloat anymore, however, and, with her bow pointing high into the night sky, she sinks by the stern in the foaming waters as the handful of survivors looks on."

This is how the Bridgecorp adventure ended too.

The MV Medici, however, floats on somewhere, probably under an assumed name in one of the world's tax havens.

And its new owner would be feeling pretty pleased with him, or her, self after forking out only $533,332.33 (GST inclusive) for Petricevic's former plaything.

(Previous Poseidon documents put the annual running costs for the Medici at over $300,000.)

As mentioned earlier, the final proceeds for the Bridgecorp liquidator (even after the GST was claimed back) was about half the Medici's sale price as "associated costs", including a $32,000 sales commission, were stripped out.

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