CITY DIARY; When mower demand runs dry

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The Independent Online
The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Transport Development Group made pounds 90,000 by lorrying water to the drought-stricken North-east via its Linkman subsidiary last year. Unveiling its annual results yesterday, the company was forced to admit that "the drought which helped Linkman hindered Woodrich, whose major customer, Flymo, experienced a sharp fall in demand for lawnmowers." Is this a contra-cyclical strategy in action?

Joanne Hindle has resigned as head of the Personal Investment Authority's pensions unit to head NatWest Life's pensions development unit, after just over a year at the watchdog. The popular Hindle has already held a wide selection of jobs in the personal finance area - as well as being a Coronation Street addict.

For instance in 1986 she joined the British Insurance and Investment Brokers Association (Biiba) as director of financial services. Then in 1989 she had a brief spell as director general of the Market Research Society, before becoming chief executive officer of IFA Promotions. So that makes La Hindle a poacher turned gamekeeper turned poacher turned gamekeeper turned poacher. I think.

And they're off. Sir Richard Kleinwort, a leading light at City spin doctors Cardew & Co, was distracted from his usual job of opinion-forming yesterday by a racehorse. Nefarious is owned by his wife Lucinda, who inherited the nag from her father Bill Shand Kydd, a famous national hunt jockey of the 1960s.

Nefarious had a superb first season last year, coming first at Windsor on Lucinda's 30th birthday, but then got kicked by another horse and had to be rested. Yesterday Nefarious ran his second race this season, the 4.10 at Newbury - and came ninth out of nine. "He'll need another four races before he's back to full fitness - he still jumps extremely well," Sir Richard said gamely last night.

From the boardroom to the doghouse in a single week. Lord Sheppard of Didgemere retired as chairman of BAT Indutries last Thursday, having reached 62. This Thursday he will be helping to choose which cat and which dog win the1996 Petplan/Animal Health Trust "WAG" Awards.

There is also a category for one person, a "Companion Animal Personality" who has dedicated his or her life to looking after animals. Four finalists have been picked and the winner will receive a prize at a ceremony hosted by Noel Edmonds. Let's keep our fingers crossed that some hound will take a chunk out of the ghastly man's trousers.

Sir Michael Perry, chairman of Unilever, was made a Commander in the Order of Oranje Nassau yesterday by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Nobody at Unilever yesterday knew quite what the Order was - a type of tulip, perhaps - or lager?

They did know however that it was in recognition of Sir Michael's services "to the development of Anglo-Dutch relations." Congratulations, anyway.

Not to be outdone, Country Gardens, a garden centre company which was one of the first to float on AIM, yesterday won a "Golden Bulb" award in Amsterdam. This award was definitly about tulips. According to the company yesterday, the tulips are judged "on bulb size rather than stem length".

COMPANY RESULTS

Turnover pounds Pre-tax pounds EPS Dividend

Bluebird Toys (F) 87.26m (99.42m) 17.82m (19.66m) 26.0p (35.7) 9.0p (8.0)

British Biotech (Q3) 8.19m (2.74m) -4.05m (-5.62m) -8.3p (-11.6) nil (nil)

BSM (F) 24.24m (24.30m) 5.38m (4.86m) 14.0p (12.8) 6.9 (-)

CRH (F) IR1.91bn (1.61bn) IR160.5m (IR116.1m) 35.55p (26.41) 9.10p (8.10)

European Leisure (I) 36.69m (32.21m) 2.22m (1.71m) 16.8p (12.9p) nil (nil)

Ind Insurance (F) - (-) 35.52m (20.88m) 53.5p (32.9p) 11.25p (9.5)

Finelist Group (I) 52.61m (43.93m) 4.05m (3.02m) 8.2p (6.6p) 1.9p(1.7)

Inspec (F) 195.48m (74.13m) 31.1m (13.3m) 20.68p (12.11p) 6.0p (4.0)

Metal Bulletin (F) 19.82m (17.38m) 4.22m (3.24m) 28.3p (21.9p) 16p (12)

Pendragon (F) 508.90m (388.89m) 11.32m (9.62m) 19.7p (17.3p) 6.0p

Raine (I) 223.55m (247.20m) -1.35m (1.06m) -0.79p (0.38p) nil (0.5)

STV (F) 100.52m (118.26m) 20.2m (2.0m) 27.7p (-3.78p) 16.25p(14.06)

TDG (F) 510.35m (496.48m) 36.1m (33.9m) 16.5p(15.5p) 9.5p (unch)

(F) - Final (I) - Interim (N) - Nine months

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