Business Diary: Prison boosts value, says Bolton

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The Independent Online

There have been more struggles for veteran fund manager Anthony Bolton, who's attempting to turn his investment magic to work in Hong Hong. His China fund has struggled this year, not least because two holdings turned out to be in dodgy shell companies.

On Friday he admitted that one of the biggest holdings in his fund is "still risky". That's because one of the largest shareholders in Gome Electrical Appliances is its ex-chairman, who is currently doing time in a Chinese jail. That's a good thing, says Bolton, claiming the fact has made the company "attractively valued". He always was a contrary cove!

Won't someone think of the kids!

Schroders reports that parents and grandparents are raiding children's savings to cope with the rising cost of living. Some 3m adults have resorted to draining youngsters' "education" funds to survive, the investment company says. Shockingly, only one one in five intends to replace the money. However a fifth of parents say they've snatched back the cash earmarked for kids' university fees to pay for holidays. Why not? Who needs to be educated when you can get a great tan?

McBranches in China to double

McDonald's attempt to push one of its Big Macs down the throat of every man, woman and child in the world is accelerating. The company's Asian president, Peter Rodwell, says it is now opening a new branch every other day in China, the world's most-populous nation. Alarmingly, he warns: "We should be opening a restaurant every day in the next three to four years." That's good news for investors, of course, but the Diary dreads to think of how many burgers the chain will soon be flipping.

The name game reaches new low

The most worthless research of the week has already arrived. A comparison site claims its research proves that a quarter of UK motorists have a pet name for their cars. Worse, it claims drivers assign a gender to their vehicle, with the top name for "male" cars being Charlie and the top name for "female" cars being Ruby. Can this be true? It's as likely as the Diary giving pet names to preposterous press releases. But this one does deserve a special name: "Money for old rope".