People & Business: Blame it all on Aston Villa

MERVYN KING, deputy governor of the Bank of England, is convinced that the UK economy's fate is closely linked tothat of his football club, Aston Villa.

Mr King said in August that the chances of Britain going into a recession were about one in eight. The Independent subsequently noted that this was not as comforting as it sounded. The odds of Villa winning the Premiership were over 30 to one, after all, but they still might do it.

Now Villa ride high at the top of the Premiership. Yesterday Mr King admitted that the chances of a recession have shortened to about one in four since August, and are now "about the same as Aston Villa's chances of winning the Premiership".

It looks as if only Manchester United can save us from recession. Come on United.

A SECRETIVE, privately owned Spanish retail chain is to take on Britain's low-cost fashion outlets such as Top Shop and Miss Selfridge. The first outlet of "Zara" will open in Regent Street, London, next Thursday. But there will be no advertising or promotions by the group, which has a turnover of $2bn from its Spanish, French and American stores.

So secretive is Zara, in fact, that its founder and controller, Amancio Ortega, has not been seen in public for 25 years.

RENTOKIL INITIAL has joined forces with a couple of Iraqi-born property developers and an AIM-listed company run by Walter Goldsmith, ex-director general of the Institute of Directors, to form a property management joint venture.

The alliance is the brainchild of the property gurus Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz, who own and run the private Rotch Properties Group, inherited from their father and currently worth nearly pounds 1bn.

Rotch will provide the capital for the financial services part of the group. The idea is to offer an integrated property and financial service to big companies and the public sector. The property side will be handled by WML Group, headed by Walter Goldsmith, who is also chairman of Flying Flowers.

The Rotch group owns 41.2 per cent of WML, which has been active on the takeover scene since being reintroduced on to AIM last March following its acquisition of the architects Whinney Mackay-Lewis. A month ago WML acquired an option to buy RC (Holdings), Britain's second largest manager of retirement homes.

The Rotch brothers plan to use Robert Fleming to securitise their property holdings within the next 12 months via a bond issue whenever the portfolio reaches the pounds 1bn mark.

HSBC Investment Bank has recruited Sir John Carter to advise the board on its insurance business, following his retirement as chief executive of Commercial Union. Sir John helped steer CU through its merger with General Accident to form CGU.

PETER MANDELSON, the Trade and Industry Secretary, has taken to praising the American system of company rescues, which makes it easier to revive failed businesses, he claims, and does less to stigmatise failure. He must be delighted therefore by the story of European Binders, a maker of magazine and book binders based in Wigan, which went insolvent three years ago but is now on the way back.

Mr Mandelson's subordinate, Ian McCartney, Minister for Competitiveness, opened a new factory for European Bindings this month, crowning a remarkable rescue organised by the insolvency practitioner David Mond, a senior partner of Hodgsons, chartered accountants.

Since being put into a "company voluntary arrangement" (CVA) in 1995, the firm has actually grown from 17 to 100 employees, and Mr Mond says creditors are on course to get all their money back next year - despite a recent fire at the premises.

Mr Mond reckons British banks are unhelpful when it comes to business rescues, and prefers the US system, where the directors of troubled businesses stay in control, instead of the banks sending their own men in. He adds: "Mr Mandelson recognises that now." At least the Trade Secretary has one fan.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy