Nazmu Virani, the normally ebullient and hospitable chairman of Control Securities, has been rather quiet of late. So quiet in fact that he has curtailed his normally lavish charitable works. A glittering affair at London's Grosvenor House hotel, planned by Virani to raise badly needed funds for the victims of the recent Bangladesh cyclone, has had to be called off. The villain on this occasion is the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which was a major shareholder in Control.
Virani, Britain's leading Asian businessman (elected Asian of the year in 1990), is usually an indefatigable supporter of worthy causes. He personally raised £5 million for the Prince's Youth Business Trust, which will be directed to helping entrepreneurs from the ethnic minorities. But since his appearance at the famous Labour Party £500-a-head bash at the Dorchester, Virani has been fully occupied in dealing with the fallout from the BCCI affair. Since BCCI owns a 5.5% stake in Control, one of Britain's top 20 property and hotel groups, Virani's current preoccupation is understandable.
Certainly, in the immediate aftermath of the BCCI crash, Control shares took a bath, falling by a third, though they have since recovered slightly. The BCCI fallout also forced Virani to make a £3.8 million provision against BCCI exposure, which pushed Control into a loss for the year to the end of March of £3.3 million compared with a profit of £23.7 million in the previous year. Perhaps someone should really be organising a whip-round for the victims of the BCCI economic hurricane.