People & Business: Some traders in the City tried to write a ditty...

How many words can you think of that rhyme with Durex? London International Group have launched a new web site targeted at the financial community, and are holding a limerick competition to celebrate.

The LIG web site team have devised an on-line competition with a grand prize of a romantic weekend at Tylney Hall in Hampshire for the lucky winner.

To qualify, entrants have to invent a printable limerick using the brand names of at least two of LIG's products. These include Durex, Sheik and Rameses (condoms), Marigold (washing up gloves), and Mister Baby (health and beauty aids). There are other brands on the web site, whose address is:

The web site also contains stuff about share prices and company developments. LIG already has a Durex web site.

You have until 24 March to enter your ditties via the Internet, and the winner will be announced, appropriately enough, on April Fool's Day.

Nick Hodges, chief executive of LIG, says: "The success of our Durex site, which has had over 6 million hits in 12 months, has convinced us that the Net is already a very effective communications medium.

"The new corporate site is interactive, animated and will be constantly updated, enabling users to access news on the latest developments within the Group as well as a library of historic data."

As for the limerick competition, the only words I can think of so far which rhyme with Durex are hex, Lex and Beck's. Good luck.

It wasn't just the England football team that had a bad time on Wednesday.

Ladbroke, which has a link with Hilton Hotels, was busy preparing a press release on the $10bn hostile bid by Hilton for hotels and casio group ITT in the US.

Then a builder outside Ladbroke's Watford head office drilled through the main power line and scuppered the publication.

Ladbroke's misfortunes continued into the evening, when they were hosting the launch of a new spread betting service in the City. Guest speakers included footballer Mick Channon and John Parrott, the snooker player, who were invited to give their wisdom on the England/Italy game, which was screened live for the guests.

Predictably, the atmosphere turned a bit flat when Zola planted the ball in the back of England's onion bag.

"We won't be running one of these events again in a hurry," muttered a Ladbroke spokesman afterwords.

This week has marked the return of Cameron Brown, the ex-Guinness Mahon director who steered the growth of Abaco Investments until it was bought by British & Commonwealth in 1988. Mr Brown is back in business with C&B Publishing.

Trading started on AIM last Friday. Placed at 110p the shares moved to 165p on Friday and then up a further 15p on Monday.

C&B Publishing is a holding company for a group launched in 1989 by Mr Brown and Mark Collins, a scion of the Collins publishing clan, who was previously deputy chairman of Weidenfeld Publishers.

C&B's shareholders include Paul Tierney, a director of VAL Corporation, parent of United Airlines and principal of US investment house Gollust, Tierney & Oliver. They also include Tim Razzall, former chief executive of solicitors Frere Cholmeley Bischoff and also national treasurer of the Liberal Democrats.

What have Hampton Court Palace, Wormwood Scrubs and wallpaper maker Borden Decorative Products got in common?

Their respective managements have all taken part in the annual Venture business game held by the Bradford Management Centre.

The business world's equivalent of fantasy football, it relies heavily on computer models of company life. Top bods meet every fortnight over six months to mull management decisions for a virtual company. The winners this year will pick up pounds 18,000 of Hewlett Packard equipment.

If you fancy yourself as a virtual Branson, contact: Venture Competition, University of Bradford Management Centre, tel 01274 384416.

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