Taxpayers Help Goldman Reach Height of Profit in New Skyscraper
In the first six months of 2010, about 6,000 employees of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will take a break from their spreadsheets and move across the southern tip of Manhattan to a new 43-story, steel-and-glass skyscraper.
The building was a bargain — and not just because the final cost is expected to be $200 million less than the $2.3 billion price the company had estimated when construction began in November 2005. Goldman Sachs also benefited from the government’s determination to avoid losing jobs in lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Building a new headquarters cater-cornered to where the World Trade Center once stood qualified the firm to sell $1 billion of tax-free Liberty Bonds and get about $49 million of job-grant funds, tax exemptions and energy discounts. Henry Paulson, then Goldman Sachs’s chief executive officer, threatened to abandon the project after delays in addressing his concerns about safety. To keep the plan on track, state and city officials raised the bond ceiling to $1.65 billion and added $66 million in benefits. The interest expense on the financing is about $175 million less over 30 years than if the company had issued corporate debt at the time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg...
Goldman Sachs, which set a Wall Street profit record of $11.6 billion in 2007 and may have earned $11.4 billion this year, according to the average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, won new and larger concessions from taxpayers in 2008. This time it was the threat of a financial meltdown that prompted the U.S. government, with Paulson as Treasury secretary, and the Federal Reserve to supply an unprecedented amount of aid to firms deemed critical to the financial system, including Goldman Sachs.
The 140-year-old company received $10 billion in capital, guarantees on about $30 billion of debt and the ability to borrow cheaply from the Fed. The Fed’s bailout of American International Group Inc., and its decision to pay the insurer’s counterparties in full, funneled an additional $12.9 billion to Goldman Sachs...MORE...LINK