Burger revamp

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The Independent Online
PLANET HOLLYWOOD, the hamburger chain whose investors include film stars Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is filing for bankruptcy protection in the US as it plans a $30m (pounds 18m) rescue package to revamp the company. Planet Hollywood's founder and chief executive Robert Earl plus major investors Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, of Saudi Arabia, and Singaporean property magnate Ong Beng Seng will contribute to the rescue. In return they will receive a 70 per cent stake in the reorganised company. The group ran into financial problems after expanding too quickly in 1996 and 1997.

Hotels cash bid

ALCHEMY, THE venture capital group, yesterday agreed a cash bid with Scottish Highland Hotels, in a deal that values the four-star hotel chain at pounds 38m. Paramount Hotels Investments, a subsidiary of Paramount Hotels chain, which is majority-owned by Alchemy, will pay 130p in cash for each Highland share. SSH shares closed up 4.5p at 128p yesterday. The Scottish Highland chain has five hotels in Scotland and two in north England. Phillips and Drew, the fund management group, ended takeover talks with SHH in July. Hanover International was also touted as a rival bidder.

Cola merger

HELLENIC BOTTLING and Coca-Cola Beverages have issued a statement that confirms the previously reported terms of their drawn-out merger.

Neville Isdell, the CCB chief executive who will head the enlarged group, said he was "very happy" with the final deal, despite Hellenic reducing its partial cash offer from 150p to 140p a CCB share.

Metals job cuts

KVAERNER, THE engineer, yesterday announced plans to axe 185 staff at two loss-making metals businesses.

The company said it would cut 95 employees at its Kvaerner Metals Manufacturing operation in Sheffield and 90 at Kvaerner Cleveland Bridge, a manufacturer of bridges in Darlington, County Durham.

Kvaerner said both plants were trying to cut costs and increase their operating performances.

E-mail plans

SCOTTISH TELECOM, part of the utility group ScottishPower, yesterday said it would provide electronic mail on TV screens to customers of ONdigital, the digital broadcaster jointly owned by ITV franchise holders Granada and Carlton.

Elf court victory

A PARIS appeals court yesterday agreed to hear Elf Aquitaine's objections to Total Fina $50bn proposal to combine France's two largest oil companies, delaying a resolution of the fight until at least November.