Brink's has a smoking problem

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10/13/2007
It's always interesting to see how a story can get spun in the media. Check this short brief about the Brink's armored car division getting fined for environmental violations. (By the way, we write "Brink's," because when you go to their site they call themselves The Brink's Company, and we generally believe in calling companies what they want to be called, unless they put their name in all-caps or something, for no good reason - we're not down with that. Why other papers don't put the apostrophe in Brink's, we don't know.) It's titled, "Brinks to Pay Hefty Fine." That certainly got my attention. Then here's the first sentence: Brinks will pay a $147,000 fine for violating smoke emissions standards at the company's facilities in San Diego and elsewhere in California, officials said on Wednesday. Okay, it's certainly bad that Brink's wasn't self-policing its diesel trucks and was polluting the air, etc. No doubt. But do you think the Brink's Company really sweats a $147,000 fine? For me, that's a hefty fine. For Brink's, that's peanuts. Just look at their financials. They're doing $3 billion a year, with EBITDA of nearly $400 million. I'm sure they'd rather not pay the fine, but that's less money than Bill Belichick was fined for cheating in the NFL (at least Bill's was tax deductible). Hardly "hefty," I'd say. Still, stop with the polluting, Brink's. Also, dear Pirate hedge fund guys: This is your chance to go for the jugular! The armored car guys are polluting? Sell them! Now! Get Gordon Gecko on the phone. He'll buy.