The American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) is one of a number of construction industry bodies in the US and therefore would come as no surprise that Somero Enterprises supports the industry body with financial donations.
According to American Society of Concrete Contractors > Foundation > Donors Somero has donated $25k-50k in the past. Exactly when is hard to establish but reviewing Somero’s annual reports (2017-2020) there appears to be no mention of any donations other than charitable ones:
Charitable donations were made in the amount of US$ 45,060 for 2017
Charitable donations were made in the amount of US$ 46,557 for 2018.
Charitable donations were made in the amount of US$ 55,022 for 2019.
Charitable donations were made in the amount of US$ 91,187 for 2020.
Whether ‘Charitable donations’ encompasses trade bodies too, I cannot tell.
In January 2022, T.R. Kunesh, Somero Enterprises’ Global Business Development Manager secured a position on the Board of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) as a Director for their Education, Research & Development Foundation. I presume this is a paid position.
On 9th February ASCC received a donation of $250,000 from Somero Enterprises - https://www.concretepumpers.com/industry-news/2022/02/09/ascc-foundation-education-research-development-receives-250000-donation
It would appear this is the largest ever financial donation provided to ASCC from a single entity.
Also, Somero have donated free of charge some of their products for trade body auctions.
Under UK Bribery law (Act of 2010) it fails prima facie given the Board Appointment and subsequent donation of $250k. However, just because Somero is listed in the UK it is not subject to various laws such as the Bribery Act because the company is not operating in the UK and the company is not registered in the UK.
It could be argued that an ‘investment’ of $250k will produce considerable returns for Somero; which is essentially saying the bribery is worth the expense. And why $250k? why not $50k or $100k not produce the same results??
It does make you wonder if Somero actually budgeted $250k in its ‘Global Business Development’ for expenditure to expand in say…anywhere else other than USA the returns would be significantly better. Or just rename ‘Global Business Development’ to ‘Domestic Business Development’ and be done with it.
It is oft quoted that Somero Management is ‘Quality’. Well just about every successful company gets branded with ‘Quality’ management whether it be Enron, to PCF Group…until it all unravels. Profitability is not a synonym for Quality Management. You are just as likely to find a company that is struggling big time to get through COVID issues with ‘Quality Management’ as you are with a company with exceptional growth. As Buffet once said "“I try to invest in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”
The question is why did Somero think it appropriate to donate a large amount of money (and equipment) to a US based trade body rather than invest it for other purposes? When a company becomes awash with cash it’s quite easy to make poor decisions.
If I get the opportunity I shall be asking Somero management to advise what ethical oversight and justification for charity and trade donations, whether cash or equipment, is provided by management?
As a follow up, I may also ask them to improve ESG reporting in the Annual Report by providing itemised statement of donations over a certain threshold, say $25k.