Council faces £ 20million loss after secret investments go wrong – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (en-GB)


Carpenter worked with Tim Hewett, Director of PWE, during his time in the Borough of Elmbridge and on the Crawley Councils. In his initial response to the Bureau, Thurrock said it was “ridiculous” to suggest that the couple’s association had influenced their investment policy, adding: “There was no prior contact between the two people at the about council investments. ”

But in a second statement, released 20 minutes later, the council removed the section denigrating the connection between the couple’s knowledge and their investments.

PWE Holdings, which through its subsidiary Pure World Energy supplies heat and power generators to municipality-owned leisure centers, recorded losses of almost £ 1million in 2016, £ 1.8million in 2017 and £ 3.1million in 2018. As of December 2018, its gross revenue was just under £ 1.6million and its net liability was almost £ 7million. . It is owned by businessman John Davies and until last year was part of his stable of “alternative finance” companies.

Perhaps this is why at least £ 15million of the council’s investment in PWE Holdings was used to fund the creation of another company – also owned by Davies – offering revolving credit to companies’ struggling to obtain traditional sources of financing ”. The loan was his only substantial source of launch financing. As of December 2018, it had issued £ 10.2million in loans and advances.

PWE Holdings chief executive Sean Fitzpatrick attributed the company’s financial problems to the closure of recreation centers during the pandemic. He said delays in their expansion plans led to the decision to loan part of the council’s investment to the credit company, adding that the funds have since been returned.

This explanation does not hold. Thurrock’s money was used to fund the credit company in September 2018 – about 18 months before the pandemic began – and the coronavirus does not explain three years of losses. Fitzpatrick’s statement that the money was returned cannot be verified as neither company released their 2019 accounts.


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