Business and City in Brief

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Forecasts of pounds 1bn profit for LLoyd's

The Association of Lloyd's Members forecast the market would make an underwriting profit of pounds 900m to pounds 1.15bn in 1993, compared with pounds 800m forecast this week by Chatset, the rival forecasters. Both agree the 1992 account, the next to report, should produce a loss of about pounds 1bn, half that reported this year for 1991 under the three-year accounting system.

German banks slated

German banks are neglecting the supervisory positions entrusted to them at leading companies and hindering corporate growth, while making inflated profits, according to a poll of ministers, state secretaries and company directors published in Capital, the German economic magazine. Nearly half the respondents believed the banks acted as accessories to tax evasion.

Optimism surges

Worldwide business optimism surged to its highest levels since the recession following a faster- than-expected recovery in Europe, a survey by Dun & Bradstreet showed.

Equifax lifts bid

Equifax, one of two US bidders for the credit referencing group UAPT-Infolink, has raised its offer to pounds 6.50 a share, pounds 1 higher than the rival offer from Trans Union. UAPT-Infolink's board has withdrawn its recommendation of Trans Union's offer.

Senior increase

Senior Engineering, the tubings manufacturer, said pre-tax profits for the half-year to June were pounds 12.6m compared with pounds 11.9m last time. Earnings per share were 3.24p. The dividend rose 6 per cent to 1.3p.

Blockbuster back on

The merger of Viacom and the video-rental group Blockbuster Entertainment, which seemed doomed only a month ago, is on again, following a decision by the latter's directors to approve the dollars 7.7bn deal, after a recovery in Viacom's share price.

Disney split

Walt Disney Co reorganised its film entertainment business into two separate entities, one for television and telecommunications services and one for motion picture production and distribution. Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios since 1984, is to leave.

Unfit proceedings

Nearly twice as many directors were subject to disqualification proceedings by the DTI's Insolvency Service in the second quarter as in the same period of 1993.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: Shares were again trading strong, encouraged by a sharp fall in US durable goods orders. A surge of over 50 points in late trading took the Dow Jones Industrial Average to 3,846.73 for a gain of 70.90 on the day.

Paris: Bond market futures influenced prices but the CAC-40 index managed a 5.66-point rise to close at 2,006.29.

Frankfurt: The DAX index wiped out Tuesday's losses, advancing 18.50 points to 2,126.37.

Brussels: The Bel-20 index gained 6.18 points to finish at 1,456.93 in quiet trade.

Zurich: Prices were helped by a firm Wall Street. The SPI index closed up 8.70 points at 1,696.25.

Johannesburg: Strong gains across the board drove the overall index 36 points higher to 5,894.

Tokyo: Last-minute buying pushed the Nikkei average to a 20,511.60 finish, up 130.82 points.

Hong Kong: Late bargain-hunting nudged the Hang Seng 4.63 points higher to 9,238.69.

Sydney: Wall Street strength and an encouraging annual result from John Fairfax saw the All Ordinaries index gain 9.6 points to close at 2,061.1.

London: Report, page 34

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