The Independent Management Game: Fantasy teams take losses

ONLY a third of the teams playing in the Independent Management Game turned in pre-tax profits in the latest round, writes Roger Trapp.

Many of the losses sustained in the competition sponsored by National Westminster Bank were due to stock-building costs - though whether this activity was planned in preparation for expected high sales in the peak Christmas period or was a result of poor forecasting remains to be seen.

Consequently, share prices fell, with the best price - Touche Ross London's 1.17 ecus - markedly down on the 1.3 ecus that led the field last time.

Although all concerned are looking for a significant upturn in the traditionally strong period ahead, Bill Robertson at the organisers, Edit 515, warns that the economic background is looking gloomy.

The dollar has weakened, while US interest rates and unemployment have increased slightly.

There has also been a fall in the price of raw materials from the US. Combined with the falling dollar, this is likely to create further problems for those who have 'bought long' in the commodity markets.

The 62 teams taking part in the nationwide contest will soon be breaking for a summer recess before beginning the drive to the final in November.

The Independent on Sunday will be tracking the progress of the teams, which range from bankers and building society staff to employees of the electronics group Motorola and British Telecom, and will also report on the European competition, in which the British winner will take part. The winner of the domestic event will receive pounds 10,000, and the runners-up pounds 5,000.

The game simulates the operation of a small to medium- sized enterprise making consumer goods for sale throughout the world. Competition in the market comes from the other teams taking part and computer simulation.

The marketing is controlled through pricing, advertising, product quality and design, and by the activities of the sales forces, agents and distributors.

Any organisation, especially schools or colleges, or groups of individuals keen to rise to next year's challenge, should apply to Richard Doggart at Quintus Group, 535 King's Road, London SW10 0SZ.

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