The day Domino scored pounds 28,000 from bingo

People & Business

Howard Whitesmith, managing director of Domino Printing Sciences, the Cambridge- based company that makes ink jet printers, is in reflective mood.

While industry is plagued by late payment for services rendered, Mr Whitesmith remembers one particular client with surprising affection.

In years past one of Domino's biggest customers was the late Robert Maxwell, then owner of the Daily Mirror. Domino would set up the ink printers on the newspaper presses to spray on the bingo numbers.

Mr Whitesmith recalls being called to Mr Maxwell's penthouse suite in Holborn, London, where the grateful tycoon handed him a cheque in payment for the printing. Mr Maxwell was especially keen on such bingo schemes.

Anyway, on the day Mr Maxwell went overboard in September 1991, Mr Whitesmith immediately did an inventory on what he was owed by Mr Maxwell, and it came to pounds 28,000. Amazingly, that very same day Mr Whitesmith received a cheque through the post for pounds 28,000 in full payment. "We were paid every penny. It must be a record," said Mr Whitesmith.

Napoleon said that an "army marches on its stomach", and that seems to go for journalists and City analysts as well.

David Green, chairman and chief executive of upmarket fabrics and wallpaper company Colefax & Fowler, held two meetings to present his results yesterday. The first in the morning over coffee and biscuits attracted just two journalists. The invitation to a lavish lunch was accepted by no fewer than 11 analysts.

May I present the world's first 21st Century Man: Robert Bourne-Clayton, chief executive officer of independent financial advisers' lobby group IFA Promotion.

Mr Bourne-Clayton is launching a campaign called TaxAction '97. Far more important, however, is his status as one of the first men on Earth to enter the new millennium. His house sits on the meridian in Greenwich, south London.

Mr Bourne-Clayton says the area has been besieged by requests from Japanese adventurers wanting to party on the line when the millennium comes. "Apparently the going rate for hire of a house is pounds 3,000 a week," he said.

Nicola Horlick may be grabbing all the headlines as "Superwoman", but GEC Alsthom's new legal director Andrew Hibbert doesn't do too badly in the over- achievement stakes himself.

Mr Hibbert, 43, has clocked up a degree from Oxford, a MBA from the University of Columbia, New York, and is qualified as a solicitor in the UK and at the bar in France.

Among his international jobs Mr Hibbert has worked as deputy chief counsel for Euro Disney. So far as I am aware, however, he does not have five children.

In an effort to dispel the fog of boredom that usually hangs over accountancy issues, Arthur Andersen has invited me to a jolly seminar tomorrow at the London's Barbican Centre, to look at the way the Inland Revenue investigates companies suspected of tax evasion.

Members of the Andersens team will feature in "role-play" sketches based on an investigation into a fictitious company, Bogus Spares Ltd, and its directors, Ivor Dodge and Willy Swindle. Auditors to the company have a far more respectable name, Graft, All Day and Knight.

Might I also suggest an extra player, a firm of management consultants called "Charge, Anarm and Aleg".

Austin Mitchell, MP for Great Grismby and gadfly of the accountancy profession, is at it again. He has lodged an official complaint against the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) over an alleged conflict of interest which "constitutes a violation of the association's own ethical code".

Mr Mitchell is calling for immediate independent inquiry into ACCA's decision to launch a rival qualification to that offered by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). Three ACCA council members also sit on AAT's council, hence the alleged conflict. Since qualifications are a lucrative business, this row could run and run.

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