Pembroke: Big fish feels the bite of small investors

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BILL HEINE, the Oxford broadcaster who fell out with the local council after embedding a 25ft fibre-glass shark in his roof, has become embroiled in another battle.

Nothing to do with alternative roof sculptures this time, but a local cinema. Mr Heine is the majority shareholder in the Penultimate Picture Palace, an Oxford film house that dates back to 1911. News has leaked that Mr Heine plans to close the cinema, to the dismay of the company's other shareholders.

'The decision is outrageous,' says Pablo Butcher, a local bookseller who owns 45 per cent of the shares. He claims Mr Heine's actions are at odds with his open, accountable image on his radio show where he asks local officials to account for their actions.

Mr Butcher has a civil case in the High Court claiming minority investors have not been kept informed of the cinema's financial position. Mr Heine is contesting the claim.

He was busy recording yesterday, but his solicitor said the decision to close the cinema was simple. 'The lease has run out and the landlord wants to redevelop the site,' he said. 'All that has happened is that the Butchers and Mr Heine have fallen out. There isn't anything underhand about it.'

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THE GOVERNMENT'S Back to Basics slogan may be causing John Major problems, but he's not the only one to suffer. Keith Povah, who runs a hotel consultancy called Back to Basics, has written to the Prime Minister to complain. 'Please change your policy name as people keep taking the Mickey,' he says. Then with admirable chutzpah he adds: 'Please let me know if you can steer any work my way.' So far, he has had no reply.

ONE CAN'T help but snigger at the misfortune of Sir Patrick Sheehy, the well-fed chairman of the cigarettes and insurance company BAT. For the umpteenth year running he had to suffer the indignity of announcing his company's results on National No Smoking Day, embarrassing when a big part of your business is flogging fags such as Lucky Strike, Barclay and Kent.

'Yet again we have scored a bull's-eye by announcing our results on National No Smoking Day,' he wheezed. Sir Patrick, himself fond of a drag or two, resisted the temptation to light up.

JOURNALISTS covering the Geneva Motor Show have been left high and dry by the closure of one of the show's best-loved institutions. The SS Helvetie, a floating gin palace moored on Lake Geneva, has traditionally been open 24 hours a day to dispense free food and drink to hardened hacks covering the event. But this year Fiat, which has always sponsored the watery haven, turned out the lights and took down the optics.

Bewildered hacks are blaming the turndown in the Italian motor industry and the constant abuse of the system, which saw PR men from other companies wine and dine their guests at Fiat's expense.

I gather some reporters, scarcely able to believe it is all over, have been seen looking confused on the jetty with a kind of 'where's it gone?' expression.

BLUE CHIP accounts don't come much bluer than the one Bain Clarkson has lost. According to the latest issue of Financial Adviser, a royal personal finance assignment has slipped through the accountancy firm's fingers.

Was this advising the Queen on a few Tessas and Princess Diana on the tax implications of divorce? Not at all. The account was for Royal Household staff such as footmen and gardeners. The Palace would not reveal the identity of the new adviser.