Business Diary: RBS discloses a lot of rubbish

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The Independent Online

Here's a sobering thought for those trying to protect the world's forests from being chopped down: Seymour Pierce's Bruce Packard has calculated that when yesterday's 300-page plus results epic is taken into consideration, Royal Bank of Scotland has put out an astonishing 765 pages of disclosure this year.

And it's only August. What he doesn't say is that most of it is incomprehensible rubbish that seems designed to obscure as much as describe the true picture of the bank. Pity poor Mr Packard and his colleagues whose jobs require them to wade through this (mostly meaningless) stuff every day.

Steiner's shares in Ocado fall

Remember last month when Tim Steiner, the chief executive of Ocado, said he wouldn't even sell the shares at 275p? There were no fewer than eight investment banks making sure they got their grubby hands on some of the fees generated by the online grocers' float and its initial price range was 200p to 275p. It was forced to slash the IPO price at the 11th hour the day before and ultimately floated at 180p. Yesterday the shares finished at 155p. Still happy to be holding those shares, Mr Steiner?

Stanley gets a tan as we burn

We're fans of the avuncular brokers at Charles Stanley but they sure tested Diary's patience with this: "Gazing out across the south Tuscany landscape on a beautiful day, it's hard to believe that there can be much wrong with the world. The view from the hillside at Cortona looks as if it's hardly changed in centuries." So nice to know the brokers had a great holiday before their note, previewing next week, returned to telling us how we're all doomed (economically, anyway).

Ryanair's timely bulletin

More fun with Ryanair, which puts out monthly "customer service" stats on a Friday even if nobody reads them. Apparently, 84 per cent of its 42,000 flights arrived on time. Which means 6,720 didn't. That's rather a large number of late flights. Our sympathies go out to Ryanair's passengers.