Business and City in Brief

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BAe lands contract for spacecraft

A British Aerospace consortium has won a contract worth pounds 300m to build and launch two military communications satellites for the Ministry of Defence.

Matra Marconi, the Anglo- French joint venture based in Portsmouth, will be the main subcontractor supplying the communications equipment for the spacecraft.

Quake claims

Farmers, BAT's American insurance subsidiary, expects to pay about pounds 400m of claims arising from last month's California earthquake. The underwriting losses will fall upon the insurance exchanges managed by Farmers and will have no impact on BAT's profits.

Video trials

Field trials for a video- on-demand service are being started by BT within a few weeks. The trials will be extended to more than 2,500 homes later in the year. BT already has access to more than 200 hours of movies and other programming.

Clydesdale deadline

Grant Thornton, the receivers to Clydesdale Group, the Scottish electrical retailer, have set next Monday as the closing date for offers to buy the group or its assets. Allan Griffiths, joint receiver, said he hoped to receive more than six offers.

Leaseback deal

Brown & Jackson, the Poundstretcher discount retail chain, has raised pounds 7.1m through the sale and leaseback of 18 stores to the British Aerospace Pension Fund.

Banks guilty

A Jerusalem court has convicted former top managers of Israel's biggest banks of charges of stock manipulation a decade ago that caused the government to bail out the entire banking industry.

Bullish BMW

The car maker BMW expects net profits in 1994 to rise by between 20 and 30 per cent. Its management board chairman, Bernd Pischetsrieder, said that investment in Rover would be sharply higher than had originally been planned.

Team strengthened

Ernst & Young International, the accountancy firm, strengthened its management team by appointing Michael Henning as its first chief executive and creating three directors responsible for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and for the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

Core business

China has lifted a ban on apple imports from Washington state in an attempt to ward off growing friction over the lack of US market access to China, according to Chinese and US officials.


New York: Lifted by gains in shares sensitive to the economy, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 9.00 points to close at 3,937.27.

Tokyo: Prices edged higher in modest trade, lifting the Nikkei average 77.51 points to 19,052.11.

Hong Kong: Profit-taking by European investors drove the market 3.4 per cent lower, with the Hang Seng index 378.19 points weaker at 10,634.14.

Sydney: Strong across-the-board rises carried the All Ordinaries index up 15 points to 2,249.

Bombay: Selling by local institutions saw the index surrender 29.39 points to 1,856.19.

Johannesburg: Continuing its recovery begun on Tuesday, the index added 40 points to 4,782.

Frankfurt: Short-covering related to the expiry of options helped the DAX index to close at 2,136.61, a gain of 20.99 points.

Paris: The CAC-40 index kept its recovery on course with a 6.35-point rise to 2,264.32.

Zurich: Gains on other European bourses coupled with Wall Street's early strength inspired the Swiss Performance Index to 1,925.48, up 22.57 points.

London: Report, page 36.