Posted by Christie Malry on November 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm
So today we get this from Ritchie:
His numbers work
Hooray! I win!
But then he had to spoil it all by saying something stupid like:
I never denied a reconciliation was possible
I'm not sure 8 out of 10 cats would agree with you there. Because in the original post, we had:
Now I can spot the £2,625m group operating profit that ties to the segment note in there. But can you find the £2,516 referred to on page 37? No, neither can I.
And is the tax charge on page 37 the same as the group P & L? Not unless £1,169m is now the same as £1,110m.
I also wonder how the auditors did not spot the difference either.
Which looks rather to me like someone who's saying that Centrica and their auditors have goofed rather than merely it's misleading.
His apology continues:
My point it is absurd to publish numbers that few could reconcile
Well, Ritchie might have a point here. Except it's really quite a weak point because Centrica actually produce a reconciliation of adjusted operating profit per their segment analysis to statutory operating profit in Note 4(b) to their accounts. They didn't reconcile the exact numbers Ritchie was looking for, but there is a clear link between the segment basis and the statutory basis.
And because this is in the notes to the accounts, it's audited.
The note is called "Segmental analysis" so anyone who wanted further clarification on where the numbers had come from ought to be able to find it quickly. And in a PDF you can always search for a particular word, or even a number, to find what you're looking for quickly.
It's the sort of due diligence someone throwing around accusations like "I also wonder how the auditors did not spot the difference" ought to have done before posting.
Elsewhere, Ritchie comments:
The comment was not an ad hominem, it was an observation of fact
Actually, it was an ad hominem. An ad hominem is a logical fallacy that occurs when one party refuses to engage in a debate about the facts and derivation from those facts but instead makes a comment about the other party. Even if the comments that he has made are true (and I don't think they are, but YMMV), it's still an ad hominem, because he's chosen to ignore criticisms of his own method and comment only on the other person's character.
Given that my argument didn't depend at all on my character, this is not a particularly effective way to respond to a challenge to his original post.
And nor do I for a moment accept I made a mistake
It doesn't matter any more whether Ritchie accepts whether he made a mistake. It's blindingly obvious that he did.
As apologies go, it's pretty weak. Best try again, eh?