Pembroke: Bernsteins are losing their grip at Granada

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The Independent Online
The Bernstein family's grip on Granada continues to loosen. The leisure group's newly published report and accounts devotes a page to a glowing tribute to Sidney Bernstein, the company founder who died earlier this year.

But the small print reveals that the personal shareholding of Alex Bernstein, the chairman and the last remaining family scion in the company, has shrunk to just 0.2 per cent.

And the poor soul has lost pounds 100,000 of his salary because he now works only a four-day week.

Who needs Santa when you've got share options like Sir John Egan? The pounds 400,000-a-year chief executive of airports operator BAA bought 260,000 at pounds 3.84 yesterday, then sold 100,000 of them at pounds 10 to finance it. The result? A paper gain of pounds 628,000.

The Christmas spirit is not alive and well and living at the Co-Operative Bank. The bank with the caring, sharing ethical stance is roping in 10 workers on Christmas day to man the lines at its Skelmersdale head office. For some reason management is under the misguided notion that customers might want to ring up mid-turkey to check their balance. Defending itself, the Co-Op says all 10 are volunteers, and two are Jehovah's Witnesses who don't celebrate Christmas, anyway.

Interesting to see that the Russian army has chosen Olivetti, the Italian computer firm, to help train 16,000 of its soon-to-be-redundant soldiers in the art of entrepreneurship and market capitalism. As the company lost dollars 100m in the last half-year, heaven knows what tips it will be passing on.

Contrary to what we were told by Kenneth Clarke last month, the PSBR is poised to mushroom next year. So says the Central Statistical Office. This year, about 6,240 biscuits - the public sector biscuit requirement - were consumed by journalists while drinking 5,200 cups of coffee during 130 press briefings. In 1994, the CSO will issue 50 more press releases than this year, which suggests the alternative PSBR will expand. Sad, though, that someone goes round counting.