Business & City in Brief

BT SELL-OFF USED TO PROMOTE PEPs

The Government is to stimulate interest in personal equity plans by offering incentives to private investors who apply for shares in the forthcoming BT sale.

Private investors applying for shares in the retail tender - in which they will be allocated shares on the same terms as institutional investors - will get more favourable allocations if they apply through a PEP. The scheme will not apply to the public offer, which offers discounts to private investors.

GPA MAKES PAYMENTS

The rescue of GPA, the Irish aircraft leasing company, took a step forward yesterday when the company confirmed that it had made interest payments due yesterday its unsecured debt and would make a principal payment due today.

GPA said it also received assurances that the provisionally agreed restructuring of its bank debt could be implemented within the framework of the General Electric Capital Corp transaction announced on 12 May and a medium- term loan from its shareholders.

INSURANCE WARNING

Proposals from the Office of Fair Trading could do serious damage to life insurance policyholders, independent financial advisers, insurers and the British economy, the Association of British Insurers has claimed. The insurers said the OFT's proposals to provide better information to life insurance policyholders were flawed and could have unintended anti-competitive effects.

IBM DENIAL

International Business Machines said that plans to break the company into pieces and sell them never got beyond the discussion stage. The company played down reports that its new chief executive, Louis Gerstner, had 'reversed' a break-up strategy advocated by his predecessor, John Akers.

CLARKE MOVES IN

Sir Robert Clarke, chairman of United Biscuits, becomes chairman of Thames Water in March 1994.

PAYROLL PAYOUT

Nearly 400 City institutions and businesses are to receive an early payout totalling pounds 6.3m from the liquidators of Payroll Services, a Surrey-based company shut down last year after pounds 25m in clients' money went astray.

CUNARD CHIEF

(First Edition)

Trafalgar House has appointed John Olsen to replace Dermot McDermott as head of its Cunard shipping and hotel business. Mr Olsen was chief executive of Dan-Air for six months before its sale to British Airways. Before that, he spent 26 years with Swire Group.

STANDARD BUYS IN SPAIN

(First Edition)

Standard Life is dipping its toe into the European life insurance market by buying Prosperity SA de Seguros y Reasuguros of Spain from Municipal Mutual Insurance, the recently troubled council insurer, for an undisclosed price. Prosperity SA began trading in 1991 and had a premium income in 1992 of 925m pesetas.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The Institute of Chartered Accountants' investigation committee is to bring disciplinary action against its former chairman, Brian Worth, over his supervision of Nicholas Young, the convicted fraudster who operated from the London offices of the accountancy firm Clark Whitehill. Mr Worth was formerly senior partner of Clark Whitehill.

FRIENDLY CORRECTIONS

Lancashire & Yorkshire Friendly Society may face costs of up to pounds 8.3m to correct mistakes on investors' policies, according to the society's annual report. The main problem relates to investment in a property fund on behalf of investors whose policies excluded this.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Inflation worries kept investors nervous and limited gains. By the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average had edged up 6.87 points to 3,449.88.

TOKYO: Prices closed higher on arbitrage-linked buying in light trading. The Nikkei average added 91.36 points to 20,565.51.

HONG KONG: The Hang Seng index hit another record high with a 118.83-point surge to 7,124.12.

SYDNEY: Light selling of futures lowered the All Ordinaries index 11.6 points to 1,686.9.

BOMBAY: Profit-taking took the index down 56.53 points to 2,300.

JOHANNESBURG: Both the gold and industrial indices rose, with the gold price testing dollars 370 an ounce.

TEL AVIV: Blue chips eased for the fourth day running. The Mishtanim index was 0.45 off at 210.29.

PARIS: Continuing weakness in corporate results worried the market, with the CAC-40 index dipping 16.02 points to 1,835.72.

FRANKFURT: Thin trade saw the DAX lose 6.63 points to 1,627.88.

MILAN: The market showed resilience as 70 stocks went ex-dividend and three rights issues were launched. The MIB edged up 0.17 per cent to close at 1,191.

LONDON: Report, page 22.

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