Column One: Teva bobs up again

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The Independent Online
I AM intrigued to learn that NatWest Securities, the stockbroking arm of National Westminster, has started investment research into the Israeli group, Teva Pharmaceutical. Its first recommendation is 'accumulate'.

Students of the Maxwell saga will remember that NatWest did accumulate some Teva shares once - pounds 30m worth, which Robert Maxwell had used as collateral for a loan. NatWest, of course, ultimately gave the Teva shares back to their rightful owners, the Maxwell pension funds.

THE PAST few months have been, to say the least, interesting times for the Unit Trust Association. Gavin Grant has had to contend with rows and splits since he arrived amid great fuss as head of public affairs a little over a year ago, so it would hardly be surprising if he was seeking a quieter life. But not a bit of it.

The chirpy Mr Grant is off to fill a similar role at Body Shop, the retail empire built up by that well known shrinking violet, Anita Roddick. And in case you think the switch a little odd, he points out that there is a 'natural synergy' between the job he takes up in June and his previous position as head of public relations at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where he earned the nickname 'Dead-dogs' for his controversial advertising campaign featuring canine corpses.

Not that he is lacking in enthusiasm for the investment industry. He has recently bought some unit trusts.

PERHAPS a little too late for the England cricket captain Graham Gooch and his not so merry men, McDonald's has announced plans to launch the fast-food chain in the Indian sub-continent.

But the US company has no intention of riding roughshod over local sensibilities. Although it is still working on the menu for the proposed 20 initial outlets, it is adamant that - even at the expense of authenticity - notice will be taken of Hindu teachings making cows sacred. 'We don't know what we'll be serving, but clearly we won't be serving beef,' a spokesman said.

JOHN ASHTON, chairman of Caird, had a little bit of difficulty remembering where he was yesterday. 'John Ashton, Coats Viyella,' was how he answered the phone. It's easy to forget. He retired as Coats' finance director only four years ago. He's been with Caird since October 1990.

A PRIVATE investor calls from Gloucester, unable to understand the prospectus for the Bank of England pounds 3bn gilts auction (minimum offer pounds 1,000) published yesterday. 'I want to help fund the national debt, but what are non- competitive bids and what on earth does paragraph 18 on deep discounts mean?' Perhaps a user- friendly prospectus would help to solve Norman Lamont's funding problems.