Pembroke: Building a new role?

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Is Trevor Osborne, the opera-loving former chairman of Speyhawk, the property developer that went bust in May, already engineering a comeback?

An obscure statement yesterday announced that the Amec subsidiary Matthew Hall and Pell Frischman Consulting Engineers were forming an pounds 11m joint venture to acquire parts of the Government-owned PSA Building Management businesses.

Though the announcement does not mention Mr Osborne, the word in the property sector is that he is involved and is believed to harbour ambitions to head the new company. Interestingly, the announcement says there are 'no service contracts in existence with any of the proposed directors of the new company'. Whatever can that mean?

Motivating salesmen is a fine art. After all, how many steak knives or exotic holidays can one win before the appeal begins to fade? Danke, the American photocopier group, which recently moved into the UK and holds its annual meeting in London today, may have the answer.

In usual fashion it ranks sales managers in league tables and sends the winners (and their partners, of course) on fancy junkets to far-flung spots. But instead of sending the tables to the office, it sends them to each manager's home address so that his or her spouse sees them. The thinking is that the partner will then drive the co-habitee mercilessly on up the league position. 'It does encourage partners to get the stick out at home,' says a spokesman.

Danke, which sends a 100- strong group of its American high-flyers to Ireland after today's AGM, has not yet decided whether it will adopt the same novel tactics as its newly acquired British business. Shame.

People always used to say that a fountain in an opulent lobby was a bad sign. What does it mean, then, if a company starts sticking little plastic pockets of water on the front cover of its annual report?

That is what the Swiss pharmaceuticals group Ares-Serona has done with its new document, which splashed on to our desks yesterday. Explaining himself in the introduction, Fabio Bertarelli, chief executive, blathers on about purity and closes: 'If you can understand a drop of water, you can understand the life of your company in this annual report.' What is he on about? Should the shares be sold?

The Family Planning Association is advertising a vacancy for a press officer (short-term contract). The previous occupant is on maternity leave.

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