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Bentley - Forbes Consulting Rankings

The prestigious Bentley Forbes Consulting rankings for 2017 - 2018 are out.  The rankings present a snap shot of the financial stability and sustainability of 16 of the 18 first class counties.  The rankings for 2016 - 2017 and some comments on methodology are here.

So without further ado: the rankings: {Please imagine a drum roll at this point}

Glamorgan5342Up 11
Essex8254Down 3
Leicestershire7565Up 1
Nottinghamshire4865Down 2
Worcestershire31388Up 2
Northamptonshire1348.59Up 3
Gloucestershire612910Up 1
Kent1099.511Down 2
Derbyshire9109.511Down 4
Durham11111113Up 1
Yorkshire12161414Up 1
Warwickshire16141515Up 1
Lancashire15151516Up 1

A few points to note. The counties reviewed have declined from 17 to 16, compared to 18 first class counties. As in the 2016 / 2017 rankings Hampshire are excluded as the county cricket operation is a 100% subsidiary of a company owned by Rod Bransgrove and disentangling the cricket entity from the business operations looks as if it would be complicated. Additionally Middlesex has not filed any accounts with the Financial Conduct Authority (The regulator for mutual companies) since the last rankings were prepared. The most recent set of  available accounts for Middlesex are for 2015. Rather than plugging outdated data into the rankings I've left them out for the moment, but will, hopefully, update when accounts are filed. Some counties (Yorkshire for instance) have been busy and filed two sets of accounts since the last table.  I've used the most recent set of figures.

As in previous years I have tried to standardise profits by averaging across four years and excluding the one off £2.5m paid to Glamorgan and £2.0m Durham by the ECB and Glamorgan's profit from redeeming debt at less than face value. 

There have been a couple of interesting developments in this years figures.  Firstly Northants have a new corporate structure.  A group of members have contributed cash of £1m+ to set up a holding company which owns the county cricket club, which itself has changed from a mutual to a company limited by guarantee.  I have treated the £925k lent interest free from the holding company to the "county" as if were not debt at all.  That is I'm assuming the loan won't be repaid and is doing the job of share capital.  Secondly Durham have been the subject of high profile bail out by the ECB.  As a part of the resolution Durham County Council converted a £3.7m loan into preference shares.  The preference shares don't pay any dividends but are repayable within 10 years. As I assume Durham will have to pay the council at some point I have included the preference shares as debt.

In terms of significant movements Glamorgan are obviously the star performers which is explained here.  Although the ups and downs are quite fun it is against a back drop where most counties are getting better off and I'll do an additional state of the game post as and when I get the time.  The bottom three, all metropolitan counties with big grounds, are becoming marooned from the group above.


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