Pembroke: Oil bids and soft centres

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The Independent Online
Is there a soft centre at the heart of Enterprise, the oil group attempting to take over Lasmo? When Enterprise documents were delivered to one Lasmo shareholder's home, they were returned to the local post office because she was out.

Suspecting the package might be something exciting, such as a present, the shareholder took a taxi to the post office. Not surprisingly, she was gravely disappointed when the 'gift' turned out to be a dull circular from Enterprise boss, Graham Hearne.

Out of pocket and possibly a bit out of sorts, the shareholder boldly wrote to Mr Hearne requesting that he pay her fare for the trip: a princely sum of pounds 5.30.

Mr Hearne consulted his legal friends who advised him that, in the bid circumstances, it would not be proper to pay the bill out of company funds. But in a magnanimous gesture, the Enterprise chief (salary: pounds 353,000) wrote a cheque to the lady from his own account.

If holidaymakers (and investors) are sick of waiting for the Channel tunnel to open, spare a thought for Louis Vuitton. In 1881, when the first tunnel looked set to go ahead, the eponymous founder asked his son to open a shop in London so the group's fancy goods could be delivered directly under the sea. More than a century later, it is still waiting and the most recent delay has thrown another spanner into the company's works.

Louis Vuitton had hoped to deliver some of its upmarket luggage on the first tunnel trip, using one of the group's original trucks. Two years of waiting later, it has scrapped the plan.

Someone is in for a carpeting at courier service TNT after a promotional offer went badly wrong. Drifting into one City office from TNT Sameday yesterday came a tardy Easter bunny.

'I am delighted to enclose your Easter bunny with the compliments of TNT Sameday,' ran a breathless note printed on 'Extrarush Delivery' paper. But TNT is passing the buck, saying it did not use its own service for the promotion. 'We use the Royal Mail like everyone else,' says a spokesman.

They set themselves up over at British Rail. The ever-popular trains, track and strike corporation has been sponsoring a young entrepreneurs award. Lucky winner was Marie Callan, whose Aquarelle company makes accessories out of salmon and cod skin. With impeccable timing, BR sent out details of Ms Callan's prize - a year's free first-class rail travel - on the day of the second one-day rail strike. 'I'm sure I can adapt my schedule,' Ms Callan says.

Robert Matthews, a former Royal Insurance fund manager, will be investing in a pith helmet between now and September. The 31-year-old City worker has given up his pounds 75,000-a-year job to team up with Discovery Expeditions and lead two parties to Guyana.

'I guess it is a bold move, but after 10 years in the City I felt I needed a different challenge,' says the intrepid Mr Matthews. On the trip two groups will spend three weeks studying wildlife and the effects of gold mining. Mr Matthews is looking for other City types to join his merry band.

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