Pembroke: Green but red faced at Pentos

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The Independent Online
COMPANY meetings are problematic affairs for Sir Kit McMahon, chairman of the troubled Pentos group. At the last one, someone insulted his rather worn Garrick Club tie. This time there was another more acidic comment.

One shareholder at yesterday's annual meeting requested assurances that Pentos used wood from sustainable sources at its furniture-making subsidiary (it does). Given the grim state of the balance sheet, another shareholder had a more pressing concern: 'What we want is a sustainable company.'

RUDOLPH AGNEW wasted no time slotting in a holiday. Within hours of celebrating his successful defence against the Enterprise bid, the Lasmo chairman had packed his rod and line and was on the way to Scotland for a spot of fishing. 'He'd booked it before the result of the bid,' said a spokesman. 'Win or lose, he was heading for the river.'

LOVE BMW. Hate British Aerospace. This is the clear message from the latest analysis by Presswatch Quarterly, which monitors corporate coverage in the national press. BMW tops the list of positive coverage with 833 points, and Rover ranks fourth with 591. But BAe, which bought Rover from the state for a knock-down pounds 150m in 1988 and flogged it to the Germans earlier this year for a thumping pounds 800m, limped from the fray with a rating of -428.

Worst performer was NatWest Bank, which notched up a pitiful -1,358 points. 'Obviously we're disappointed,' opined a NatWest man lapsing into football manager speak. 'It's clearly a bad result.'

YOU CAN take the man out of the Bentley. But can you take the Bentley out of the man? Richard Palmer, the young blade who bought Western Motors for peanuts in 1988 and sold it for a fortune three years later, used to run a fleet of the posh British limos in the go-go 1980s. Now at European Motor Holdings, he has been slumming it around town in a more modest BMW.

But old habits die hard. He recently bought a Jeep Cherokee ('It's useful for the kids and the dog') and has his heart set on a more stately motor. 'I'd like one of the new Bentley 7 Series when they come out,' he muses.

THERE should be a few famous faces in the City's Exchange Square next week as the Broadgate Club, the posh gym where many a City worker sweats away the day's frustrations, does its bit for charity. Every lunchtime, stars will go through their paces in aid of the Lords Taverners. Former county cricketers Chris Cowdrey and Roland Butcher will face City bowling on Tuesday and Wednesday. And Victor Ubogo, the rugby union international, will join the Harlequin pack on Friday to test their scrum skills against a machine. On Saturday, the club is trying to tempt workers back into the Square Mile for a charity dinner where the speaker is the England cricketer Alec Stewart.

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