“…determination, incurable optimism…and a dogged refusal to accept that long-established things cannot be changed.”
"…determination, incurable optimism…and a dogged refusal to accept that long-established things cannot be changed." Those are some of the attributes a Newport (RI) newspaper listed for Alan Bond after his historic 1983 Newport victory in the America's Cup.
Mr. Bond's yachting attributes, however, might just as well be applied to his business acumen, for Alan Bond is almost certainly the best known and most successful Australian business leader in the global arena. As executive chairman of the Bond Corporation Holdings Limited, he heads one of the top 50 companies in Australia. At the end of the last financial year, Bond Corporation's annual revenue was more than $5 billion; total Group assets exceeded $9 billion; and after-tax profits totaled $402.5 million.
All of this is not bad for an immigrant from Britain who dropped out of school at age 13. Bond began his career painting signs in Perth while studying accounting at night. He noticed that the properties bearing his "for sale" signs were sold within a few months. Inspired, he scraped together a modest bankroll and began trading in real estate. By the age of 21, he was a millionaire and firmly convinced that, as he says, "I was smarter than the people I painted signs for."
Today, Alan Bond runs an empire that stretches over five continents. It includes investments in Chile's telephone company, Australia's first private university, an oil venture in China, and properties near Rome. Bond Corporation Holdings Ltd. Focuses on five industries: brewing - he controls half of the Australian beer market and owns the number five American brewery - media, real estate, energy, and mining.
The Bond Corporation began with property development in suburban Perth. In 1969, he formed the corporate identity which was eventually to become the organization it is today. Its real estate activities range from the Bond Centre in Hong Kong and development of major prime-site commercial ventures in Sidney and Perth to the development of the famous St. George Hospital in London and the St. Moritz Hotel in New York.
With the acquisition of G. Heileman Brewing Company, Inc. in 1987, Bond Brewing became of the worlds top five brewers. Bond Media Limited owns newspapers and television stations in Australia, operates the only television service in Papua, New Guinea, and controls the Chile Telephone Company. Bond International Gold (BIG) is a globally-based gold mining company with operating properties in North American, South American, and Australia.
Bond first started making sailing news in 1970 as owner and skipper of an 18-meter racing sloop, Apollo. After a number of successes in ocean races, he entered the America's Cup competition, ultimately becoming the first non-American to capture it in 1983. This spectacular victory made him a national hero and the most famous businessman in Australia. His victory not only established Bond's personal reputation, it also lent new status to the Bond group. He said, "If we have the determination to win The Cup, people figure we have the management to succeed with the company."
The strategy of Bond's company is to finance debt with either good assets or strong cash flow. Both property and brewing bear out this definition, causing Bond Corporation to operate like its founder - fast, on instinct, and in a style that leverages the company to high levels in order to finance new ventures.
As one banker put it, "Bond Corporation by nature is going to be moving forward all the time."