25 JUNE 1994, Page 22

A slight case of dysergy

SYNERGY IS a deal-maker's word, mean- ing that two plus two can make five, with the right accountant. Dysergy came to the world of oil when Lasmo bid for Ultramar. Stretching to take over a badly managed company, Lasmo suffered, and two and two made about one and a half. Now Enterprise oil is bidding for Lasmo, and holds out the prospect of synergy. Not, though, the prospect of cash, though in today's market a cash bidder would get his hand bitten off. To take over Lasmo, Enterprise has to stretch. Dysergy, I suppose, was what hap- pened to the old lady who swallowed a fly, and then a spider to catch it, and then a bird — and now an oil well?