When times are tough and jobs are on the line the financial statements released by big companies gain a scary relevance.
None more so, from the perspective of Britain's beleaguered motor industry, than Tata Motors' announcement that it has effectively already lost £281 million through its recent acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover. You can read the full story here.
Of course, times are tough all over, but Tata Motors' relatively small size (by the standards of global automakers) means that it's corporate pockets are considerably less deep than those of its major rivals. Cuts have already been made at JLR, and now bosses at Tata are warning that more jobs are likely to be shed sooner rather than later.
All of which makes the brinkmanship between the government and Tata over loan guarantees seem even more reckless. A previous agreement for the state to give JLR a £340 million guarantee unravelled after it emerged that the government was attempting to impose conditions that would have included the right to choose JLR's chairman and partial control of how the money was spent. (It's worth pointing out that the government's 'Automotive Assistance Programme' has yet to pay out anything, to any company.)
Nor has JLR seen any significant benefit from the government's other motor industry lifeline, the much-vaunted scrappage scheme, for the simple fact that anyone splashing £30K-plus on one of the company's products is singularly unlikely to be trying to part-ex a banger against it.
With thousands of British jobs at stake, this is a dangerous game for both sides to be playing.