Pembroke: 3i ventures into military matters

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The Independent Online
Lovers of jousting and elephant armour will soon have to head for Leeds to indulge their passion. Led by the venture capitalists 3i, the new Royal Armouries Project has raised pounds 42.5m to fund a centre that will open by spring 1996.

The 37-acre site promises to be a militarist's delight. A key exhibit will be the elephant armour thought to have been captured by Lord Clive during his victory at Plassey in 1757. A 'tilt' yard will stage jousting and military drill and a 'menagerie court' will house working birds, dogs and horses.

Running the show will be Sir James Glover, chairman. An appropriate choice. A career soldier and non-executive director of BP, he lists his hobbies in Who's Who as gardening, mountain walking . . . and shooting.

Rugby League buffs with hopes of turning a team into the next Wigan now have their chance. Huddersfield Rugby League Club, which lists its address as a portable office and has been in administration since October, is for sale.

With debts of pounds 500,000 and no assets, the club doesn't look much of a catch. But the team is perched on top of Division Two and due to move into a shiny new stadium that it will share with the town's football team. 'But if someone doesn't come in soon, all the players will leave,' says a spokesman.

After a year-long hunt for a head of operations, Nomura International has finally got its man. Ed Davis will join from Deutsche Bank as deputy managing director in January. The appointment is part of a move by the Japanese house to 'Europeanise' its operations and follows that of Rod Chamberlain as managing director and head of administration two years ago.

Mr Davis should look healthy on arrival. He is currently sunning himself on a beach in Lanzarote.

The derivatives broker Intercapital has made a few people happy this Christmas by raising pounds 288,000 through a charity day. Staff donned fancy dress - Fred Morton of accounts came as a gynaecologist (long white coat, apparently) - and all the proceeds of the day's trading were donated to Save the Children and Medecins sans Frontieres.

Intrum Justitia, the European group that has been trying to give debt collection a good name, has come down to earth with a bump. The company's shares had been as buoyant as a beach ball on the Med since its sponsorship of a boat in the Whitbread round-the-world yacht race. But how quickly things change. Last week the Intrum Justitia won the second leg of the race in Fremantle, Australia. Yesterday, a profits warning had the shares glug-glugging down more than 20 per cent.

There might be a few Japanese threatening hara-kiri this week after a Far Eastern variation of coals to Newcastle went horribly wrong. Things looked so promising last year when Sushi Boy, an 80-strong chain of restaurants based in Osaka, western Japan, hit the headlines by importing budget-price sushi from the US. The move circumvented Japan's ban on rice imports.

The reward for such championing of free trade? Not good. The chain has been declared bankrupt with debts of nearly dollars 40m.

(Photograph omitted)

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