It couldn’t be nicer could it? A four day Bank Holiday weekend punctuated by hollow chocolate offerings and spring weather. The sirens outside the NTI newsroom here in Tower Hamlets finally silenced themselves an hour ago, to be replaced by the gentle peel of a car alarm outside the bookies and the wail of a couple of police cars as they tore up the Bow Road.
The Duchess of Sussex inveigled her way into an article in the business section of the Financial Times this weekend. Apparently, she announced her engagement to Prince Harry while wearing a Ralph & Russo dress. This was the ‘official engagement’ and not one of the two previous ‘engagements’ she understandably mistook from a chat in Waitrose, Belgravia in the yoghurt aisle and when talking seriously to her then boyfriend about the possibilities of reducing their carbon footprints by moving to LA, one of the world’s ten most polluted cities.
The Duchess will be gutted to hear this Easter Sunday (4 April) that one of her favourite fashion labels which sounds like it could be Ralph Lauren, until the sentence ends badly, is having the rule run over it by Joint Administrators from Begbies and Quantuma.
Could it be that Ms Markle’s interest in the label was first piqued when she heard tell that it was the first British fashion label to be designated as a “corresponding member” on the haute couture schedule in nearly a century by The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, French fashion’s governing body? (We hear this is a good thing, despite almost deafening and entirely successful attempts as pretentiousness.)
In truth, we don’t know. However, all that shiny celebration is now in the past as the fashion company enters the rather less salubrious and more swollen ranks of ‘Retail Fashion Companies in Administration’. In a statement made by Tamara Ralph (and on behalf of the distraught Michael Russo).
Tamara was in good form, though, managing to muster a straight face as she said the decision to appoint Administrators “will help refinance the business and allow us all to do what we love best; creating for our women across the world.” And losing all that pesky debt, Tamara, don’t forget losing all that pesky debt.
A person Tamara and the gibbering Michael could turn to as an expert in getting rid of bothersome debt is the rightly-maligned Sanjeev Gupta, who maintains his No 1 position at the top of the ‘Man to Shun This Week’ charts. It is reported that ‘Whitehall officials’ are desperate to stop Mr Gupta from phoenixing (that’s a verb ...) Liberty Speciality Steels before buying it back all fresh and clean, in a move that would attract the golden buzzer was he doing it before a jaw-dropped Simon Cowell on Britain’s Got Talent.
Gupta is relaxing in the relative safety of his home in Dubai, weaving his webs and tossing his coins like the international tosser he is reputed to be, conspiring over various futures for his GFG Alliance which has a huge exposure to Greensill bank, which is enjoying its own financial tragedy, now an insurance firm has withdrawn cover from Greensill’s backer Credit Suisse.
It’s all nicely complex, keeping Grant Thornton busy (if not quite out of ‘other news’ ...) but Gupta has said that, “No UK steel plants will close on my watch.” And a fine, big, gaudy bejewelled Rolex watch it is, too.
To catch you up, Gupta owes the Australian banker Lex Greensill’s eponymous firm an estimated $5 billion from so-called ‘supply chain financing deals’, where Greensill paid Gupta’s customers’ bills early (hence Grant Thornton’s interest).
Those close to the NTI newsroom (well two blokes who play on Rich’s local football team and drink with him in the pub garden after) and wanted to be described as ‘sources’, said Deloitte may be appointed by the Government to handle a possible insolvency of Liberty Speciality Steel, and carve it out from the broader GFG empire. Deloitte did not respond to requests for comment. GFG has hired PwC to explore options for its Caparo engineering steel business. It really is a game of 'pick a Top Four restructuring specialist, any Top Four restructuring specialist.
Interpath Advisory are said to be furious they haven’t been invited to this particular party, but it was explained to them that if we don’t know what their logo is yet tehy won’t be allowed to play with the big boys.
Happy Easter and Happy Sunday.