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The Independent Online
THESE are unsettling times if you are a eurobond salesman for Russia. Mikhail Zadornov, Russia's Minister of Finance, completed a roadshow last week across seven European cities to stump up interest in a DM1bn eurobond being issued by the country.

The sales tour took in Frankfurt on Thursday and London on Friday, where Mr Zadornov extolled Russia's markets and gave a portrait of the country's reform measures. SBC Warburg and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell were lead underwriters to the issue, and were looking forward to fat fees from the deal.

Then on Monday President Yeltsin sacked his entire government, including Mr Zadornov, who heard about it in Hamburg. The eurobond was pulled, pending more "stability" in the bond markets.

Word does not reach me of Mr Zadornov's fate, but I am happy to report that the eurobond issue was back on track yesterday, and with it the investment bankers' fees, which is after all what really matters.

JAMES Heneage, the40-year-old co-founder and managing director of Ottakar's, the bookshop chain due to float next month, named the company after a childhood obsession, he tells me. The name refers to King Ottokar's Sceptre, from Herge's series of Tintin books, in which the King's sceptre in a fictional Eastern European state becomes the centre of attempts to overthrow the state.

Mr Heneage decided to avoid any potential copyright conflicts with Tintin's present owners by changing the middle 'o' in his store's name to an 'a'. I still think "Captain Haddock" would have made a splendid name for a bookshop.

Anyway, Mr Heneage and his co-founder and non-executive chairman, Philip Dunne, have built the chain up from nothing in 1987 to 47 stores today, 15 of them opening in the last year. They've avoided head-on competition with the heavyweights like Waterstone and Books etc by opening in market towns and the like, from Brighton and Banbury to Llandudno and East Kilbride.

Mr Heneage spent most of his previous career with Ogilvy & Mather as an account director. Mr Dunne, 39, is a corporate financier who worked for SG Warburg and Pheonix Securities, and is currently managing director of Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, the

American investment bank.

The team also includes Neil Lloyd, 32, the finance director, who trained with accountants Baker Tilly and was financial controller of Harvey Nichols during its flotation. John Thornton, 54, chairman of Thorntons chocolates, is also on the board as a

non-executive director.

CONGRATULATIONS to the emerging markets settlements team from Deutsche Morgan Grenfell's back office, who drank their way to victory at the Hogshead City Beer Challenge on Monday night.

This isn't as bad as it sounds; Tom Craven and his DMG colleagues didn't actually win the contest by drinking more than anyone else.They simply had to identify eight beers from a list of 20.

It was all for charity. The evening attracted 18 teams from the Square Mile and raised pounds 5,000 for the Richard Langhorn trust. Over 40 teams competed in four heats, and the DMG team only won after a nail-biting sudden death play-off (or should that be drink-off?) in the final, with four other teams on equal scores.

The runners-up were, in descending order; Lambs to the Slaughter (Lloyd's Chambers); Anglo Rom; Old Street Slappy Happy Chappies (ACT Financial Systems); IMRO, and Richards Butler.

Mr Craven and his seven colleagues have won an all-expenses-paid weekend trip to the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh, where they will sample everything the company has to offer.

Sounds like DMG had better start recruiting back-office replacements immediately. They'll never find their way back to the airport.

OUR commiserations to Sir Bruce MacPhail, managing director of P&O, who missed the press briefing yesterday for the best set of annual results in years. Lord Sterling, chairman, said Sir Bruce was not there "because he has a gut problem". Our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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