Column Eight: No taste for deals post lunch

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The Securities Exchange of Thailand's new afternoon trading session went down like a soggy noodle last week.

Since Thursday the market opens between 2.30pm and 4pm - 8.30am and 10am our time - to encourage European participation. But, with May's bloodshed still fresh, European reaction has been muted and daily turnover has hovered around a miserable 4 billion baht.

If the Europeans were unenthusiastic, the locals were downright disapproving.

One Thai dealer summed it up thus: 'In Thailand the reaction has been that the housewives and doctors are upset. They normally gamble in the morning and pick up their kids or hold surgery in the afternoon.'

The annual results bash from Fullers - brewer of beers of not inconsiderable clout - showed the measure of the press corps invited to The Mint, one of the company's newest pubs, near the Royal Mint in London.

No speeches, no presentation, no formal explanation of the figures, just a friendly 'What's yours?' Needless to say the mineral water flowed.

Malicious dealing room rumours that Andrew Christensen, the former private client director of James Capel (Channel Islands), who left on Tuesday, has joined the Hare Krishnas are untrue.

Instead he is off to build an orphanage in Lupeni, Rumania. He is giving up a salary package of more than pounds 80,000 for 'spiritual and emotional satisfaction'.

Good for him.

Arle Court House, a country house of doubtful architectural charm on the fringes of leafy Cheltenham, is the first victim of TI Group's pounds 500m takeover of the aerospace engineer Dowty Group.

Bought by founder Sir George Dowty for pounds 6,000 in 1936, along with 100 acres, the neo-Georgian pile was the company's head office.

Alas, no more. On 20 July Arle Court is due to close and 70 head office staff be made redundant. But a cricket pitch and a sports centre remain along with 800 employees in surrounding factories on the once-verdant acres.

Some of Farnell's 3,000 workers thought that the decision to sack Eric Hall, who ran Farnell Electronics' manufacturing division until last Monday, was ill-timed.

Shares allocated to employees under the profit-sharing scheme could not be sold until Thursday - by which time they had unfortunately lost 40p.

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