Column Eight: Kit for the corporate developer

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The Independent Online
Rosehaugh Estates may now be among the terminally sick but its staff should have been among the fittest in London.

KPMG Peat Marwick, called in as receivers last November, have asked the auctioneer Henry Butcher to sell the contents of its plush West End office - including a multi-gym, two exercise bikes and a rowing machine, which were previously installed in a mirrored gymnasium, also equipped with piped music.

Other attractions include an 18-foot Italian marble boardroom table, which is expected to fetch 'several thousand', a collection of 100 legal books, 270 oh-so-trendy 'American cherry finish cabinets' and 350 chairs.

Fit and well also is Michael Julien. The man forced to step down as chief executive of Storehouse last July because doctors advised him it was the only way to recover from a mysterious virus, pronounces himself restored to health and ready for a restrained return to business.

He has just added a non- executive directorship at the international tax consultancy Chiltern Financial Services to his place on the board of ex- employer Guinness, and is in talks about taking up a handful of similar positions.

But this does not mean he is keen to rejoin the rat-race. 'I'm not planning to go back to being a 15-hours-a-day chief executive travelling around the world,' he said.

Concert promoters beware. Lloyd's of London is holding its annual meeting off- premises this year in, of all places, London's Royal Festival Hall.

The embattled insurance market's last meeting, held on the trading floor in accordance with tradition, took the best part of a working day. This year, the authorities are allowing all the time in the world for questions from angry members facing ruin without disrupting business.

The wise concert promoter should perhaps only scheme in a short Chopin Etude performed by a little-known pianist for the evening of 22 June.

Meanwhile, a reported exchange between Britain's highest-paid insurance broker, Bill Brown, and a friend being shown around the latest supply of antique-style furniture for one of the pounds 3.6m-a- year, self-made man's homes. 'Reproduction?' inquired the friend. 'Nah,' replied Mr Brown. 'It's all brand new.'

Even in gloomy times somebody makes money. But, as a financial services company, the Ecology Building Society has some reason to trumpet its achievement last year in lifting post-tax profits from pounds 85,865 to pounds 120,683 and assets from pounds 8.1m to pounds 10.3m. Since the growth was, of course, organic, it's presumably a case of 'Where there's muck there's brass'.

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