49 jobs to go as Nomura quits European stocks

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NOMURA International, the Japanese securities firm, is abandoning making markets in Continental European stocks as part of a retrenchment. Analysts and investment banking staff are among 49 who will lose their jobs.

Although Nomura said it remains fully committed to its UK equity operation, it will no longer research the building, financial, insurance, chemical and utility sectors. The volume of share trading in these areas did not justify Nomura's continuing reseach.

The firm suspended market- making for half an hour yesterday morning to allow it to make its announcement to staff. This initially prompted suggestions that staff were protesting at the cuts by refusing to make markets.

The cuts come after what Nomura described as a major review of its business. Koichi Kane, chairman of Nomura International, said: 'We have had to take some very hard decisions, but our priority must be to ensure that Nomura is able to maximise its potential when the current downturn in global markets comes to an end.

'Our commitment to the European market remains as strong as ever, but our focus must continue to be on providing excellent service in those areas where we have the greatest strength and potential for growth.'

Nomura intends to concentrate its efforts on pharmaceuticals, motors and engineering, oils, other industrial materials, conglomerates, brewing and leisure, retail, food manufacturing and telecommunications.

This year, Nomura laid off several staff from its Japanese warrant operation. But yesterday's move was on a much larger scale. Nomura has had a London operation since 1964 and has been making markets since 1987.

Nomura would not disclose how many staff were leaving each of the areas affected, but said the investment banking staff would fall by less than 10 per cent.