Thursday 08 February 1996
It's funny what can move a share price. On Tuesday Celtic, the Glaswegian football club, hired as non-executive directors Brian Quinn, head of supervision at the Bank of England, and Sir Patrick Sheehy, recently retired chairman of BAT Industries. Yesterday shares in Celtic's local arch-rivals Rangers lost pounds 5 to finish at pounds 60 on the Ofex market. This 8 per cent fall was achieved by dealers marking the price down - no shares were actually traded. Obviously the market-making community knows something about the silky skills of Mr Quinn and Sir Patrick that the rest of us don't.
Calling all hamsters. Pet City, the recently floated out-of-town superstore chain, has one really hip product at the moment, according to Giles Clarke, the company's chief executive. Call at any one of its 35 stores and you could buy a Hamster Moon Glow Ball - an exercise wheel that glows in the dark. It starts at pounds 9.99 and comes in two sizes. Mr Clarke declares: "It's hot."
Cedric Brown's rehabilitation starts here. Following Mr Brown's abrupt departure, the head of one of the City's biggest fund managers (it starts with an 'M') mused: "I quite like Cedric Brown. In some ways he should be a hero for everyone. After all, he started out digging trenches and ended up right at the top. If we can have Eric Cantona and George Best as heroes, why can't we have Cedric?"
Eurotunnel is disturbed at the press treatment it is receiving at the moment. In particular, it is worried about the media's fascination with the food provided to truckers using the Channel Tunnel. Last year concerned journalists started asking the company whether the fare was stodgy and greasy enough for our heroes of the road, according to a Eurotunnel spokeswoman. Instead of concentrating on how many passengers were using the service, hacks were questioning whether Servair, Le Shuttle Freight's catering service, was serving too much poncey stuff and not enough shepherd's pie. The company has steered clear of a public relations disaster by using only pure British bangers and beans. No one, however, seems to have studied the dangers of the resulting build-up of methane gas in the Tunnel...
Sheila Masters has suffered a shock defeat in the race to become vice- president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The much-tipped Ms Masters was beaten by Chris Swinson, the generously proportioned former managing partner of Binder Hamlyn, now a partner with BDO Stoy Hayward. Whoever becomes vice-president gets to be deputy president the following year and then president. Michael Groom, a sole practitioner, was also vanquished in a three-way contest. Many observers queried why Ms Masters was bothering to run for the job, since she already runs most of the rest of the country. She is a partner with KPMG and a member of the Court of the Bank of England, and has other public sector jobs on top of that.
BT held two press conferences yesterday, one in the UK and one in Germany. It was announcing its joint venture with Viag to form an alliance with the German industrial group RWE, aimed at building a third force in German telecommunications. While extracting the same amount of information, the British journalists took half an hour, while the Germans took more than two and a half hours.
Apparently this is the way things are done in Germany, where annual general meetings routinely go on for 10 hours or more.
Road sense: Here's some helpful advice sent out yesterday by the Co-operative Insurance Society for motorists grappling with the current nationwide blizzard: "Be prepared for an emergency. This includes keeping not just a de-icing spray, first-aid kit, torch and jump leads - but a spade and wellingtons in your boot should it be necessary and practical to dig yourself out. Don't travel without warm clothing, a blanket and a flask containing a hot drink for longer journeys." Oh, and don't forget the huskies.
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