Welcome to this second quarterly Chairman’s update following what has been an eventful start to our 2021 year to say the least. It really feels like déjà vu from 2020 as we again battle to keep the game alive with our various key stakeholders. As things come to hand in this very fluid situation the business will keep you abreast and we thank you for your patience and understanding.
The most recent lockdown has seen disruption across the group, with Sharks at Kareela closed, our Woolooware Bay Development coming to a temporary halt and the team relocated to Brisbane with all other Sydney clubs, the Canberra Raiders, Newcastle Knights and Melbourne Storm, just to keep the game going.
We can assure you that our management team has once again put in place a very solid and comprehensive remediation plan so that we also keep our business going well beyond this most recent setback and ensure that we will come out of this in reasonable shape with our staff our main priority.
It was not that long ago that we were standing side by side with some of you at our members information night at Sharks at Kareela on the 2nd of June, which was an excellent opportunity to share the progress in the Business and delve into our strategic intent. We also appreciated the honest and candid question and answer session.
Even with all the adversity before us the journey continues as we proceed to lay down the foundations in setting our great club up both on the field and off the field, that I can assure you.
See following reports from the various committees who have held meetings and conducted business during the past quarter.
With a full complement at Board level now since the last election, and both Matthew McGrath and Patrick Bourke well and truly settled in, we continue to operate in a cohesive and collaborative approach with our Executive Management to ensure governance and strategy is achieved across the Group.
Remuneration & Appointments Committee
As per the agreed Corporate Services Annual Calendar, the six (6) monthly reviews have been undertaken with all staff across the wider Sharks Group. It is fair to say we are very lucky to have within our Club such a professional and resilient team that keep rolling with the adversities of this ever-changing environment.
Without duplicating the CEO update on the variables surrounding COVID impacts, I would just like to take the opportunity to thank all the players, administrators and equally their families for the unwelcome impacts relocating and lockdown would have on their personal lives and their family units. The sacrifice certainly does not go unnoticed and on behalf of the rugby league community we thank you greatly.
The Football operations continue to look bright for 2022 and beyond. As you would no doubt be across, we recently secured the services of Melbourne Storm Co-Captain, Dale Finucane on a four-year deal, as well as re-signing Interim Head Coach Josh Hannay as Assistant Coach for the 2022 season. When we overlay Craig Fitzgibbon, Nicho Hynes and Cam McInnes with our existing football operations I cannot help but get excited at what may lay ahead.
The committee has been busy with several important ongoing projects.
Taking some advantage from the COVID-forced shut down of Sharks at Kareela, the club has been actively upgrading the carpark. A well-overdue project, members and guests will now return to the Sharks at Kareela without the need for 4WD to access to the main entrance.
The committee is also working hard with management to prepare Pointsbet Stadium for our forecast return for the 2022 season. Whilst members will understand that there will still be active construction and upgrade works occurring in and around the stadium until 2023, we have responded to the calls of our valued members to return to our sacred heart stadium sooner rather than later.
We have all hands on deck to make this a reality. More information on this will come out shortly from the business.
Of equal importance is the ongoing redevelopment of our new Leagues Club. The month of August will see a few long-awaited milestones achieved for the redevelopment, including completion of the 70% fit out design. This milestone will enable the club the opportunity to start sharing the completed design details with our partners and members shortly thereafter. Appreciating the building is currently looking a little bit worse-for-wear, we assure you the club continues to work hard with our development partner in Aoyuan and its building contractor Parkview Constructions, to deliver what promises to be a first-class facility and one of the best clubs in the Sutherland Shire. Works are still on track for a completion towards early to mid-2023.
The committee was called upon to investigate and determine the unfortunate incident with Josh Dugan. Whilst he didn’t disobey public health or government orders it was a direct breach against the NRL protocols that each player is strictly governed under. The NRL investigated the matter as was widely reported and hit Josh with a $25,000 fine for the breach.
We have a zero tolerance when there is a blatant breach and although Josh has been punished by the NRL our own investigation and process has meant that Josh has fronted the DC. The determination of this is of a confidential nature and therefore the specifics of the outcome will not be shared externally.
The Investment Committee (IC) undertook an ‘investment risk review’ prior to evaluating products in the market. The main three key items to the IC were as follows;
Preserve the capital invested
Generate return greater than inflation
Reasonable turnaround time to access the capital for future potential acquisitions and Club fit-out etc.
With these parameters in place the IC went to market sourcing suitable products. After an extensive evaluation period I am pleased to advise that the Board of Directors unanimously approved the IC recommendation to invest the available capital as follows;
Metrics Credit Partners (MCP) Fund - $15,000,000
Fund has over 185 loans secured by against company assets
>$2.5B loan balance across the fund (>$12B since inception in 2013)
Blue chip loan holders; Woolworths, Caltex, Qantas, Sydney Airports, Aveo, Metcash, Energy Australia, MYOB, Ventia, Sheraton, Arnotts etc
<1% loan defaults since inception
Capital available within 15days and no locked in period
Access to capital requires 2 Directors and CEO/CFO signature
Return is estimated at 5.8% net of fees and inflation
$2,000,000 into a term deposit (still to be confirmed)
All investments are direct with Sharks and not via an intermediary
The Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) independently reviewed all transactions and parties and has approved the investments.
If any members have any further queries, please contact the Club. Martin Kennedy (Chair of Investment Committee) or myself would be more than happy to address any concerns.
We hope you remain safe and well during this very challenging time and we ask you to support our team now more than ever as we fight for a finals birth in trying conditions.