CITY DIARY

Don't all faint, but SBC Warburg has just recruited someone. With an eye on boosting its European presence, it has nabbed Jorge Calvet, 37, to head up its Spanish operation from September. The half-Swiss, half- Spanish Calvet has been lured from Morgan Stanley's corporate finance department.

A master of five languages, he becomes country head for Spain and a managing director leading a team of 40 to build the corporate finance and equities business.

Calvet's first priority will be to effect the integration of the business of SBC Warburg in Spain and then consolidate and expand Warburg's existing Spanish franchise. Nice to know that someone still wants to work for SBC.

Last year is one that George Soros, the financier with the Midas touch, would rather forget. The man who broke the pound got burned by the yen.

But the old magic may be back as Soros launches his biography later this year: Soros on Soros.

When he looked like being pipped at the book-launch post by his one time partner, the BMW-riding Jim Rogers and author of The Investment Biker, Soros made sure his book would hit the stands first. The tome is sub- titled: staying ahead of the curve.

To sail around the world is a challenge but to go single-handed from east to west - commonly known in the business as going the "uphill way" - is just what Samantha Brewster, 28, will attempt to do when she sets sail in October.

Broker CE Heath has lent Brewster the boat which first travelled around the world in 1992/1993 as part of the British Steel Challenge. She will try to lift the record for the fastest unaided solo circumnavigation of the world from east to west.

An enthusiastic sailor since she was 12 years old, Brewster hopes to beat the current 161 day record to collect the Solo Trophy Challenge which is sponsored by Group 4 Security.

Cider maker Merrydown packs a punch - whatever else it does at the moment. Last month it caused a furore with the launch of Two Dogs, the lemonade which can leave you legless.

As we record elsewhere on this page, Merrydown yesterday announced a year end loss of pounds 1.85m. But the occasion had its lighter moments. Explaining the fall in sales of cider, the refreshingly plain spoken chairman, Richard Purdey attempted to debunk the myth that cider sales automatically rise when the weather is hot.

The problem with hot weather said Purdey, "is that the thing one needs to do is to replenish one's liquid resources, not fall down."

Out of the frying pan and into the fire for Nigel Hamilton of Ernst & Young. Responsible for the lightning-quick sale of Barings to ING in only 11 days, Hamilton is now off to Latvia to resolve the problems of its largest commercial bank.

Bank Baltija, which collapsed in May, has around 40 per cent of the domestic deposit market and employs 1,200 in 50 branches and bureaux de change. Hamilton and his team hope to sew things up in under three months, but there is always an added incentive if things look like taking their time. Breakfast in Latvia usually consists of cottage cheese, cream and either sugar or salt. Expect another fast track turn around.

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