Small Talk: Savile offers a lifeline to victims of City squeeze

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For those living on Mars for the last few months, it might come as a surprise that people in the City are losing their jobs at a rate of knots. These once masters of the universe who apparently kept the rest of us in a job are falling by the wayside as their former employers “retrench”, “restructure”, and “regenerate”. Or just collapse altogether.

The good news for the once upwardly mobile is that help is at hand from what must be one of the most successful Alternative Investment Market (Aim) listed groups. Savile Group is an executive training and career “transition” specialist, which helps those that find themselves out of a job (and still have plenty of cash in their back pocket) to use their skills to get back into work. Executive chairman Jonathan Cohen points out that there are jobs still available: those institutions that did not bite off more than they could chew in the good times are still taking the opportunity to hire “good quality people,” who in turn can take the opportunity to work with Savile and set themselves up as a mini business to get back into work.

For cynics who imagine that Mr Cohen’s pitch is getting a bit desperate, think again. The group put out its interim results last week, showing that pre-tax profits, at £750,000, match the figure for the whole of the previous year. Yes, it might take the next 12 months to see quite how bad the City job market is, but with the company’s stock growing by 175 per cent in the last year, it is clear that the group is making its point.

Future looks bright for Peninsular Gold

A few years ago, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown decided in his wisdom that it would be a cracking wheeze to flog off the country’s gold reserves. That turned out not to be the wisest of moves judging by recent movements in the price of the commodity that is seen as a favourite in times of trouble.

On Friday the World Gold Council was sending out press releases offering speculation about whether or not gold would break $1,000 per ounce. Irrespective of whether it meets this target, for Peninsular Gold the surge in gold prices could not have come at a better time.

The Aim-listed Malaysian-based group has just started producing its first gold, and as an unhedged producer, the group will be able to take advantage of the all the dramatic hikes in the price. That may spell trouble in the future if gold falls, but for now the miner is cashing in: the stock has soared by 200 per cent in the last month.

Zoo Digital grapples with the pirates

By the time this is being read over the breakfast tables of Britain, we will know if Mickey Rourke won the best actor gong at the Oscars. If so, quite apart from it being a crime against cinema, one guarantee is that the fake DVD market will be flooded with copies of The Wrestler, above, for which he was nominated.

While the average punter may think that DVDs for sale at a £1 each is no bad thing, and that a little drop in profit for the film studios is nothing to worry about, the studios themselves do tend to get rather upset about ripped-off copies of their films.

Zoo Digital reckons it has cracked it. The company makes software which it says can speed up the time it takes for a film to get to the DVD market, with the extras packages and language translations put together in about a week, rather than the average 10, and beating the pirates in the race to get the film to market.

The group claims to be working for four major Hollywood studios. If their technology really does work, do not expect to be offered The Wrestler in a pub near you anytime soon.