Over the next few days we wish to address a theme that has been somewhat neglected on this blog until now. The theme is that TBI has long been financially mismanaged, which partly accounts for its long-term ability to flourish. (The other reason is the mixture of toxic and even pathological personalities who have controlled Head Office since Mariam swaggered in around 2006). TBI’s financial failures are all the more inexplicable when you consider that Indonesia’s GDP has been growing at around 6% per annum since the middle of last decade, with not even the Global Financial Crisis taking the wind out of Indonesia’s sails. If Indonesia has been booming and many young Indonesians want to learn English, why has TBI entered a period of stagnation during a boom? To get honest answers, you don’t want to listen to Head Office. We will attempt to outline what we know- most of which is new information to this blog.
The biggest example ever of TBI’s troubled finances is the little-known fact that TBI was forced to sell TBI Paskal (Pasar Kaliki) around 2008. This was because TBI had major ‘cash flow problems’. The school was sold to an investor to may a quick cash grab to plug a hole in the finances.
Cameron first heard about this sale from Chris Needham, who then believed Ashley was his mentor. (Ashley ended up throwing Needham to the wolves, of course.) Apparently Platts and Needham were agreed that selling TBI Paskal was hopelessly short-sighted and would damage their long-term cash flow and growth prospects in order to achieve a short-term fix. We don’t agree with a lot of the claptrap which Platts spouts (or more typically plagiarizes and then claims as his own, illustrated with figures jumping for joy!) but here we find ourselves in total agreement on this occasion. Bandung was always the one city where TBI has unquestionably strong and a market leader. Did it realize make sense to farm off a TBI Bandung school to a franchise owner who might damage the brand image?
TBI, as we will show in the coming days, has long been managed in a careless, ad-hoc manner, with profitable concerns like TBI Paskal being sold off so half-baked USG vanity projects can be run for the kids of the well-connected. Even more of the money is, of course, unaccounted for. You will not be surprised to learn either than no further group schools have opened in the half a decade since. It seems that the capital needed to expand the group is just not available. Tomorrow we will look at the next proof that TBI has not improved its financial weaknesses when we drop in at Menara Kuningan.