Banker Advised Railtrack While Planning Its Demise

Article excerpt

A SENIOR investment banker at Schroder Salomon Smith Barney was involved with Railtrack at the same time as advising the Government on preparations for putting the company into administration, it has emerged.

Chris Houston, SSSB's head of project finance, is co-director of the team assigned to the administration of Railtrack. However, Railtrack said last night that Mr Houston had also been involved in advising it on the funding of modernisation schemes for the network.

SSSB maintained last night that there had been no conflict of interest and said that Mr Houston had not been involved in advising Railtrack on any specific projects. "When we were approached by the Government we explicitly cleared our appointment at the highest level at Railtrack to ensure that there were no sensitivities of any sort," a spokeswoman said.

However, Railtrack said its understanding was that SSSB had been appointed to advise the Government on the restructuring plans for the network devised by Railtrack's own advisers, Credit Suisse First Boston. …