Headed for divorce, but Pammy keeps her bottle

People & Business
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The Independent Online
Readers will have heard of the highly publicised marital split between Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson and her tattooed rock star husband, Tommy Lee.

You may not have realised, however, the threat this bad publicity represents to Richard Branson's Virgin Cola, which introduced the "Pammy" cola bottle last February, based on Anderson's curvaceous form.

Nick Kirkbride, managing director of Virgin Cola, glossed over Anderson's marital difficulties yesterday, saying: "We still love her."

Asked whether Lee, the drummer with Motley Crue, would make a suitable substitute as a cola bottle, or whether Virgin would change the Pammy bottle, Mr Kirkbride said: "I'm not sure what Tommy Lee would look like, or whether it would be legal to put him in the shape of a bottle."

American businessmen often appear brash and self-publicising, but few can equal John P. Imlay for sheer impact.

Mr Imlay is over here to push his book Jungle Rules: How to be a Tiger in Business, a light and amusing read. It tells how he turned around his computer software company, MSA, from bankruptcy to sell it for $333m.

It also recounts how he used to dress up in costumes and use wild animals, especially tigers, to liven up his motivational seminars. "The tiger bit a woman and dragged her across the patio. I take goldfish now."

That's one way of livening up the sales force, I suppose.

Oliver Ashworth, Manchester-based valve makers, issued its float prospectus on Tuesday - but only just.

The finished draft of the pricing document was delivered to printers Williams Lea on Monday evening, and copies should have been ready for inspection the following morning.

In the event they were not ready until Tuesday afternoon, for one simple reason. Williams Lea was taken over by an American company on Monday, and the Americans were too busy handing out P45s at the printing plant to allow the Oliver Ashworth prospecti to be printed.

Happily everything has now been sorted out. Oliver Ashworth, led by chief executive Roger McDowall and commercial director Philip McDowall, is backed by the likes of Rothschilds venture capital, with 23 per cent, and MAM Private Equity, with 6 per cent. Let's hope they can complete the float before they too get gobbled up.

Scruttons, the engineering and shipping group, is planning to float off its manned guarding business on AIM. Given the business is a tiddler by stock market standards, it's good to see that Scruttons chairman, Sir Peter Parker, is keeping the publicity side in the family.

The company has retained three spokespeople from top City spin doctors Brunswick to oversee the float. Sir Peter's son, Alan Parker, is the proprietor of Brunswick.

Sir Rocco Forte and his Italian wife, Aliai, took the train north from London to Yorkshire on Wednesday, the day Granada announced its first results following the acquisition of Forte.

A year ago nearly to the day, Sir Rocco was also in the north, preparing to go shooting, when Granada announced its results and its pounds 3.3bn bid for Forte.

This time Sir Rocco doesn't have so much to worry about, and certainly won't be forced to hurry back to London.

Gordon Campbell, the chief executive at Courtaulds, is sporting a swish new suit in a subtle shade of olive green.

Mr Campbell tells me that the suit is made of Tencel, Courtaulds's new wonder fibre made in a plant in Korea. Tencel "feels like silk but is 10 times more hard-wearing", or something like that.

The Courtaulds boss ordered the suit last Tuesday morning and it was ready by Thursday afternoon, a wonder of Far Eastern service.

Mr Campbell contrasts this with his experience this week, when he took some shirts in to be cleaned at a dry cleaners in London.

When asked when he wanted them back, he said: "Next week."

"Just as well. We can't do them till next Wednesday," was the reply.