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Financial bites

Railtrack FD David Harding; BHP Billiton chief executive Paul Anderson; Andersen chief executive Joseph Berardino; Jeff Randall, business editor of the BBC

“Ratting on shareholders and denigrating management may have been a politically attractive decision but it did not make the hard choices go away.”

Railtrack FD David Harding on Stephen Byers and the implications of administration. Financial Times, 28 November 2001.

“There’s no way to reconcile these two sets of information unless we hire some more of your guys and you would probably like that.”

BHP Billiton chief executive Paul Anderson addressing the Australian Chartered Accountants Institute complaining that Australian listing rules are far more stringent than in the UK. Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2001.

“We made a professional judgement about the appropriate accounting treatment that turned out to be wrong.”

Andersen chief executive Joseph Berardino referring to the auditor’s treatment of one of Enron’s financing vehicles used to keep debt off the company’s balance sheet. Financial Times, 17 December 2001.

“Merrill says it is blameless and yet at a minute to midnight it gives Unilever £70m to shut up. Why?”

Jeff Randall, business editor of the BBC, commenting on the settled court dispute over allegations that ML mismanaged Unilever’s pension fund. Sunday Telegraph, 9 December 2001.

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