Sunday, October 23, 2011

Idea for Bill Conway to Help Poor

Carlyle Group co-founder William Conway, a multi-billionaire by virtue of his life's work as a private equity underwriter (PEU), dangled $1 billion to help the poor.  Ideas poured in, the latest from WaPo's Robert McCartney.

Does Robert know about Carlyle's propensity to cut jobs to pay for corporate interest and management fees?  Does he know Conway & company sent jobs to "low wage portions" of the globe?  It doesn't take much research to find Conway's imprint on the poor and elderly.

Starting with a British carpet maker, Brintons, which Carlye purchased after Conway issued his $1 billion challenge, PEU Conway dropped Brintons pension fund and cut 10% of its UK jobs, 70 out of 700.  Most of Brintons jobs are moving to China,, where the firm is completing a "state of the art" manufacturing facility.

One could chalk Brintons up to bad timing.  However, Carlyle's ownership of United Components reinforces the job shift to China, only these were U.S. auto parts manufacturing jobs.  Carlyle owned United Components from 2004 to 2010.

When Carlyle purchased UCI it had no Chinese subsidiaries.  By 2010 UCI had thirteen subsidiaries in China or Hong Kong.  The number of employees fell from 6,900 to 4,350.  Carlyle pulled $35.3 million from UCI via a special dividend in 2007.   Add their $2 million annual management fee and the total rises to $47.3 million.  How many jobs did Conway send to China outside UCI?

WaPo's McCartney voiced:

Conway’s money can help ensure that those jobs go to people who already live here but have been outside the workforce, rather than to people who’d move here from elsewhere.

Is Conway's challenge regional?  Does he desire to burnish his impeccable D.C. reputation?  At least Blackstone co-founder Pete Peterson's "Don't Tax the Rich" Foundation has a national focus.  

Nonetheless, a billion dollars would pay for a lot of basic education and work skills. That would translate into jobs that would change lives in the long run, just as the philanthropist wants.

Basic education in what?  If it's a Carlyle Group subsidiary, they best teach Chinese.  The question is which dialect, Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese, etc.?  It's a PEU world.