A WEEK IN BUSINESS

Top of the form

SHARES in Fisons, the drugs company, spurted 67.5p to 264.5p after Rhone- Poulenc Rorer pounced with a pounds 1.7bn hostile bid.

Tail-ender

MDIS, the computer services group, fell 19p to 70p after appalling the stock market with a third profits warning in less than a year (see above).

Greasy pole (up)

TERRY MAHER, the outspoken entrepreneur who was ousted two years ago from Pentos, the then Dillons and Rymans group, is planning a comeback. The first branch of Maher The Bookseller is due to open in November.

Greasy pole (down)

TONY BRAK, the public affairs co-ordinator for Shell International, will take early retirement. Shell denied his departure had anything to do with the Brent Spar fiasco.

Nice little earner

JOHN Clare, chief executive of Dixons Group, got a 25 per cent pay rise to pounds 402,000. His boss, Stanley Kalms, got a 12 per cent rise to pounds 669,000.

Bum deal

INDIVIDUAL investors got kicked twice. The Stock Exchange said it was removing a rule that forces large flotations to offer shares to the public and Crest, the new settlement scheme, revealed high transaction fees.

Sound bite

"THESE figures are a disaster for the unemployed and their families. They indicate the Government's much-vaunted economic recovery is no more than a dead fat cat's bounce." - Labour spokesman Ian MacCartney after unemployment rose for the first time in two years.

Corporate scallywag

COMPANY directors are being disqualified at double the pace of a year ago under a crackdown by the Insolvency Service. Some 1,400 applications are before the courts for offences such as misusing National Insurance Contributions funds.

Under attack

ANGRY gardeners stormed the annual meeting of Southern Water to complain about the hosepipe ban caused by hot dry weather and the utility company's inability to stop leaks from its mains.

Product launch

RANK Organisation announced plans for a pounds 2bn resort in Florida with Seagram Company's MCA film studio. To be called Universal's Islands of Adventure, it will have five themed islands, including one based on Stephen Spielberg's Jurassic Park.

Place your bets

ODDS of A level results setting a new record level of passes in 1996? Ladbrokes is quoting 4 to1 on.

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<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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