Pembroke: Unkindest cut of all for Elliott pension

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The Independent Online
How to kick a man when he's down. John Elliott, the Australian big-hitter who with his company Elders IXL once owned the Foster's lager brand, has enough problems at the moment. The man who was once tipped as a future Australian prime minister and advocated taking Ayers Rock away from the Aborigines, is facing charges of corporate wrongdoing (that he vehemently denies) and his empire has crumbled.

Now it emerges that even his pension fund has taken a hit. Four years ago, the fund management arm of Elders IXL paid pounds 21.5m for Time Square in Bracknell, Berkshire, which features a mixture of office and car parking space. Yesterday it was sold to Standard Life for a knock-down pounds 9.8m.

A MILLIONAIRE businessman who made his pile out of carpets is about to celebrate his 50th birthday in style. Cambridge- based Malcolm Gordon, who runs a chain of 26 carpet shops called Carpet City, is whisking a group of 130 family, friends and staff to the Canary Islands for a knees-up. The party is flying out on Monday, and will board Cunard's Sea Goddess 1 for a five- day luxury cruise. Mr Malcolm, who will be shelling out around pounds 250,000 on the jaunt, says: 'You only have one 50th birthday and I decided it would be nice to celebrate with the people who've helped me build the lifestyle I have today.'

AS THE mystery over the whereabouts of Jurgen Schneider, the Germany property developer, continues to spawn newspaper headlines, his company's French near- namesake is getting alarmed. Groupe Schneider, a multi-billion- franc electrical distribution business, has issued a statement to make it clear that the company has no link with the ailing German company. 'We haven't had any problems yet but we were concerned that some of our customers might wonder what was going on.'

IT SEEMS there will be no missing the much-touted Bill Gates book on the dreaded information superhighway. The book, co- penned by the Microsoft billionaire, will be published in November and issued in a variety of formats. According to Penguin, which has acquired the rights, the book will be issued in hardback, paperback, professional format (with teachers' guide), children's version and audio cassette. But there seem to be a few surprising gaps, given the nature of the beast. There is no mention of a CD or computer disk version.

EUROTUNNEL chairman Sir Alastair Morton is pulling out all the stops to try to get his consistently delayed tunnel off to a good start. Sir Alastair, who is not known for his love of the press, is planning a three-month 'overture service' before the real thing gets under way in October.

This service, Eurotunnel says, will be by invitation only and at a reduced fare for shareholders, journalists, business partners and other 'opinion forming groups'. Those over-optimistic punters who have had the faith to buy tickets already will also qualify. Eurotunnel would not comment on the expected take-up.

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