Business and City in Brief

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Eastern Electricity axes 250 more jobs

Eastern Electricity will cut 250 jobs because of tighter price controls in its supply business from April. The company has already reduced its core workforce by 1,800 in the past two years.

Eastern said there could be further cuts as regulation in the sector continued to bite. Offer, the regulator, is also reviewing electricity distribution prices.

Banesto plea rejected

The Spanish government has rejected appeals by Mario Conde and the former directors of Banesto against the Bank of Spain's intervention in the bank in December. Mr Conde, former chairman, appealed against the intervention on the grounds that Banesto's financial situation was not bad enough to warrant it.

Fewer firms go bust

Company insolvencies fell 9 per cent to 4,634 between the third and fourth quarters of last year, according to government figures published today by the British Chambers of Commerce. This represents a 24 per cent fall on the same period of 1992 and contributed to the number of insolvencies for the year dropping 15 per cent to 20,825.

Rover move on hold

Honda will not take a decision on its 20 per cent shareholding in Rover until it has heard BMW's plans for the company, said Nobuhiko Kawamoto, president of the Japanese car manufacturer.

SAS sheds 2,900

Scandinavian airline SAS is shedding 2,900 more jobs - 15 per cent of the workforce - and cutting spending to meet increasing competition.

Elf oversubscribed

The French government's sale of 33.2 million Elf Aquitaine shares to retail investors was 2-2.5 times oversubscribed, dealers said. The offer closed last night and the subscription figure is expected on Monday.

Welsh Water's pounds 200m

Welsh Water has raised pounds 200m in the Eurobond markets through its Dwr Cymru division. The cash will fund capital investment and infrastructure developments in water and sewage.

Pounds 20m Siemens order

Siemens beat off competition from 22 European companies to win a DM50m ( pounds 20.1m) order for gas meters from British Gas.

United Carriers up

United Carriers, the parcels and freight distributor coming to the market next month, reported a 15.6 per cent rise in operating profits to pounds 5.25m in 1993 in its pathfinder prospectus, published yesterday.

Foale quits Gowrings

Stephen Foale, finance director of Gowrings, the motors and leisure group, resigned with immediate effect. He had been finance director for five years.

World Markets

New York: Worried by the bond auction and today's expected economic data, the Dow Jones average had fallen 36.58 points to 3,895.34 by the close.

Tokyo: Arbitrage buying helped shares higher, with the Nikkei average 149.32 ahead at 19,990.7.

Hong Kong: Closed (holiday).

Sydney: The market dived for the second day running for no obvious reason. The All Ordinaries surrendered 36.6 to 2,234.3.

Bombay: Despite early panic selling by speculators, the index revived to end 21.23 up at 4,040.15.

Johannesburg: Political factors took shares lower, with the overall index off 20 points at 4,834.

Paris: Prices ended weaker after the Bank of France left interest rates unchanged. The CAC-40 eased 5.29 points to 2,296.77.

Frankfurt: Active trade carried the DAX index to 2,118.96, off its high but a gain of 33.67 points.

Zurich: Profit-taking lowered the SPI 19.93 points to 1,917.64.

Milan: Ferruzzi Finanzaria and telecommunications stocks led the market marginally higher.

London: Report, page 30.