Soros on Soros, straight from the horse's mouth

City Diary

John Willcock
Monday 15 April 1996 23:02

Anyone who enjoyed the autobiography, Soros on Soros, by George Soros, the billionaire hedge-fund entrepreneur, may wish to listen to the book which has now been transferred to four audio cassettes and read by - George Soros.

A review will appear as soon as we can persuade someone to listen all the way through it ...

Pulses were raised at a normally sober institutional fund manager's yesterday when it received a copy of the 1995 Sherwood Group annual report and accounts.

The Nottingham-based lace and garments maker has included, alongside the normal facts and figures, two glossy colour triple-pull-out photos of glamorous young female models wearing, quite frankly, not that much apart from the company's lingerie.

"This is normally a very bad sign that the company wants to distract you from some pretty dire results in the back of the report," one fund manager said yesterday. "But actually Sherwood did quite well."

John Melbourn, who retires as deputy group chief executive of National Westminster Bank this year, was yesterday made a non-executive director of Tesco. Mr Melbourn, 58, has been a life-long NatWest man, and spent the last few years dealing with the bank's big corporate lending.

As such he was the bank's main negotiator with the late Robert Maxwell, and played a big part in clearing up the mess when the Maxwell business empire collapsed.

Tesco should be a lot quieter.

Now it can be told. The recent decision by Halifax Building Society to dump SBC Warburg as its adviser during the run-up to its float prompted a buzz of speculation in City parlours.

Now its appears that the "straw which broke the camel's back" for Halifax was when it was told by SBC Warburg that the bank was also advising Bank of Ireland on its bid for Bristol & West. The prospect of "business trips" to Dublin must be ample recompense to the chaps at SBC Warburg.

Brian Weight joined JP Morgan straight from Cambridge in 1972.

It was therefore quite a coup for BZW to poach him yesterday, to become the investment bank's chief credit Officer within its risk management division.

Mr Weight, 46, has experience in risk management at JP Management as well as stints in energy and project finance in Singapore, Australia and the US.

Mr Weight is also a keen local historian, having contributed several chapters to a history of Bath, the historic West Country spa town.

More appointments: "J R Compton, the manufacturer of teabags and other long-fibred papers which was a pounds 100m management buyout backed by 3i and Schroder Ventures, from De La Rue in September 1995 has appointed Adrian Buckmaster as non-executive chairman."

Long-fibred paper, eh? Whoever would have thought it. Brings to mind Molins, the company that makes the machines which produce pyramid-shaped teabags.

Molins us also the world's largest maker of small and medium-sized cigarette- making machines.

Not many people know that.

The following missive plopped onto the Diary's desk yesterday: "With the increasingly global nature of fraud a new survey has highlighted a list of potential fraud `hot spots' which contains some surprising findings. The survey, carried out by international accountants KPMG in 18 countries spanning five continents, identified the US, Singapore (above) and Italy among potential fraud `hot spots'." Not that much of a surprise about Singapore. Wasn't that the place where a mere pounds 600m disappeared last year from Barings Bank courtesy of Nick Leeson - now in jail for, um, fraud?

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