Bunhill: The beast of BZW

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The Independent Online
TONY SHIRET, the stores analyst with stockbrokers Barclays de Zoete Wedd, is the bete noire of several of Britain's better-known businessmen. An accountant by training, Shiret has the habit of obliging them to eat their words. And last week he had two victories in a row. It was Shiret who had long been a thorn in the side of Sir Ian MacLaurin, insisting that Tesco's stores were overvalued and that it could not sustain its aggressive opening programme. Sure enough, Sir Ian last week announced plans to depreciate stores and slow expansion.

It was Shiret who got himself banned from Dixons meetings after warning that the electricals group made most of its money from warranties and pointing out that said warranties were pricier than its rivals. Last week the Dixons share price was hammered after the Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation.

Earlier in his career Shiret managed to upset Sir Ralph Halpern, then chairman of Burton, by publishing a circular illustrated with a picture of a dustman bearing a passing resemblance to Sir Ralph. The aim was to drive home the point that Burton's property valuations were 'rubbish' - as indeed they proved to be.

Shiret is reticent when asked to say who's next for his special treatment. No one in particular, he insists - though he is a bear of MFI Furniture, he adds ominously.

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