Healthy rivalry on AorTech team

GORDON Wright took time off yesterday from preparing for the flotation of AorTech on the Alternative Investment Market next week to show Cabinet member Rodger Freeman around his Bellshill factory where a new generation of artificial heart valves are manufactured.

Mr Freeman, who is in the Cabinet thanks to his responsibilities as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, was in Scotland for some electioneering work in the Ayrshire Cunningham North constituency.

He had expressed an interest in seeing around AorTech which will be valued at #21.5m when it is floated this Wednesday, and Mr Wright was happy to oblige.

I am told that a full stock market flotation could be in the offing for the company in two years time which is not bad going for a company which Gordon Wright only formed four years ago with Lanarkshire accountant Eddie McDaid.

The pair obviously make a good business partnership but I am told that at weekends they do not quite see eye to eye with Gordon Wright urging on Rangers to nine-in-a-row league championships while Mr McDaid can normally be found in the East End of Glasgow hoping his favourites will snatch the title.

Life begins on


MOST people settle for a drink with friends and relatives to celebrate their 40th birthday, but not Paul Capell, managing director of Weir Westgarth.

The boss of the desalination arm of the Weir Group has just climbed 19,340ft to the top of Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, to mark his milestone.

Paul hopes to have raised more than #3500 in sponsorship for Yorkhill Hospital for Sick Children in the process.

Thankfully conditions were not as bad as expected with temperatures reaching just below zero, during the three-day climb.

In order to get fit for the trek the managing director, who had previously only climbed the 3118ft Helvellyn in the Lake District, visited the gym five days a week for six weeks.

Paul, who says there was a lump in his throat as he reached the summit, added: ''I regard it as very much a personal triumph and am pleased I did it. I pushed myself further than I thought I ever could and on top of that, it was all in aid of a good cause.''

He claims the traditional beach holiday holds no attractions for him any more, adding: ''I quite like the idea of white water rafting!''

Aiming high

for charity

THIS is not a mountain-climbing column but readers may be interested to know that Walter Hecht, a partner in Kidson Impey, is planning to trek up the 21,000ft Mera Peak in Nepal, which is in the shadow of Mount Everest, this autumn.

Walter, who tells me that he has always had an ambition to go to Nepal, plans to make the three-week trek in aid of a number of charities, including The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

His ambition is to raise #1 for every foot he climbs which means that the charities will be #21,000 better off if he succeeds.

The reason why Walter chose Mera Peak is because he is not a mountain climber, and the Mera is a trek which at most calls for some arduous scrambling.

Mind you this does not mean that he is in for an easy three weeks. Above 15,000ft the oxygen levels drop dramatically, and you have to be fit to keep going.

Fortunately for Walter the expedition is not until October which will give him ample time to recover from the injury he suffered earlier this week trying to play five-a-side football.

I last saw him hirpling after a taxi in Glasgow's West Nile Street and thought to myself that he would not be able to make it to the top of the Wallace Monument never mind Mera Peak.

Cashing in on

royal downfall

IT is all change in Hong Kong this summer as we mentioned in the Business Diary last week but the handover to China is bringing some business to Scotland as the Union Jack prepares to be lowered and many Hong Kong institutions prepare themselves for being part of Chinese society.

One ramification of the change in status is that the Royal prefix is being dropped by Hong Kong's leading organisations including the Royal Hong Kong Golf Club.

This has resulted in Highland Connection, a Glasgow company which manufactures woven golf towels, being asked to produce new towels for the club which will henceforth be known as simply the Hong Kong Golf Club.

Highland Connection were asked to design towels which replaced the crown with the ''Bauhinia'', the national flower which also now appears on Hong Kong coins, and dropping the Royal title.