Bailed-out bank won’t cut champagne hospitality (Wimbledon diary)

June 23rd, 2009 - 6:36 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 23 (DPA) The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), bailed out by billions in British taxpayer money just keeps on spending, with an estimated $500,000 hospitality bill being run up at the Wimbledon tennis championships.
It’s business as usual for a company which last year reported the biggest loss in England’s corporate history, with valued clients partying like it’s 2007.

Lucky VIP guests are being feted with fine dining and champagne. Should they somehow tear themselves away from the trough, there’s also tennis on offer.

RBS drew fire several months ago at the height of the crisis for its rich sponsorship of Scot Andy Murray. British taxpayers now own more than 70 per cent of the struggling bank which posted a loss $34.2 billion last year and sacked thousands of staff.

Media reports indicate that the bank has booked an entertainment suite for 13 days at 32,000 dollars a day, a spend in excess of $400,000.

RBS will also pay $160 per Centre Court seat and more than $100 a head for lunch. Officials said they have cut their usual Wimbledon spend by 90 per cent this belt-tightening year but said due to contractual arrangements this year’s hospitality will carry on.

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Strawberry sales expected to be on a high

The warm and sunny Wimbledon weather is lifting the sale of iconic punnets of strawberries at the All England club, with up to 25,000 kilos expected to move along with 7,000 litres of cream.

The temporary catering staff of 1,800 are expected to dish out 12,000 kilos of poached and smoked salmon, 32,000 portions of fish and chips, 22,000 slices of pizza, 190,000 sandwiches, 135,000 ice creams and 300,000 cups of tea and coffee.

For a bit more of a punch, 200,000 glasses of of Britain’s favourite summer tipple, Pimms, will be sold along with 100,000 pints of beer and lager and 17,000 bottles of champagne.

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