21 SEPTEMBER 1991, Page 25

Hanson on form

THE TWO noble bidders at Hanson have excelled themselves. Bidding for Beazer, they pick up a company at its last gasp under the burden of debt, and priced accordingly. It is hard to say who can have been more pleased to hear from Lord Hanson — Beazer's shareholders or its bankers. So there goes another of the bubble companies of the 1980s — a Bath builder blown up by merchant bankers and public relations puffers. (Two more diffe- rent companies than Beazer and Imperial Chemical Industries, Hanson's previous fancy, cannot be imagined.) I know an investment analyst who used the Beazer accounts as a textbook. 'What do you look at first? The auditors' certificate? No, the list of directors. See how many of them are called Beazer.' If Lord Hanson and Lord White can maintain this form into their eighth decades, I can stop worrying about the extension of their contracts. What an instructive deal for their latest co-director, the Hon. Robert Hanson! My investment analyst need not look far for a new textbook.