Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
OFT EXTENDS LWT DEADLINE

The Office of Fair Trading said that the period for its consideration of the leisure group Granada's bid for LWT, the London broadcaster, would be extended to 10 February.

The OFT's report is understood to be with the Department of Trade and Industry, and an announcement is expected either today or on Monday. The OFT is thought to have cleared the bid, which is part of a wide-ranging shake-up among ITV companies.

Gail Counsell, page 29

MAXWELL WRIT

Liquidators of the Maxwell pension funds have launched a writ for pounds 50m against Credit Suisse over disputed pension assets.

GATEWAY CHANGE

Gateway, the food retailer, is to rename itself and its stores Somerfield as part of a four-year modernisation programme that will cost pounds 200m.

LONDON BUS SALE

Westlink, the first of 11 London Bus companies to be privatised, has been sold to a management and employee buyout team for pounds 2m. The company operates 118 buses from two depots serving south-west London and Surrey.

LLOYD'S REJECTION

An action group representing names on Syndicate 334 has voted to reject Lloyd's of London's offer of compensation in return for an end to litigation between names and their Lloyd's agents. Sixty per cent of the 360 names in the action group voted against the settlement.

EURO DISNEY LOANS

Banks may make provisions of 50 per cent or more against their loans to Euro Disney, with French banks - accounting for half the total debt - likely to be the worst hit, IBCA, the credit- rating firm, said.

BANESTO GAP BIGGER

The financing gap at Banco Espanol de Credito could be as large as Ptas675bn ( pounds 3.2bn), according to reports attributed to the bank's new management team. This compares with the Bank of Spain's estimate of ptas503bn.

PRU UPSET

Prudential, Britain's biggest life insurer, reported disappointing results from Jackson National Life, its US arm where sales fell by nearly a third to just over pounds 1bn. Pru attracted more than pounds 1bn with its Prudence investment bond last year.

CAR PRODUCTION UP

Car production rose last year to its highest level for 19 years with 1.375 million vehicles made - a 6.5 per cent increase on 1992. But commercial vehicle output fell to its lowest since 1948 with fewer than 200,000 trucks and vans built.

GEC CONTRACT

(First Edition)

GEC (Hong Kong) has won a HKdollars 122m contract to provide electrical and mechanicaql services for a tunnel on the highwway to the planned new Chek Lap Kok airport, the Hong Kong government said

ASDA RETAIL JOB

(First Edition)

Asda has appointed Allan Leighton retail director. Mr Leighton joined in March 1992 after working at Mars.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: The market rose to another record close in brisk trading, boosted by positive economic news and good corporate results. The Dow Jones finished 7.59 points up at 3,891.96.

TOKYO: Continued buying from foreign investors pushed the Nikkei 225 index 144.52 points higher to 19,183.92.

HONG KONG: Investors took profits after China's central bank governor said inflationary pressure could increase. The Hang Seng index closed 98.93 points lower at 11,264.84.

SYDNEY: Gains in futures prices drove the All Ordinaries index 18 points up to 2,266.2.

BOMBAY: Shares drifted lower. The BSE 30-share index ended down 50.52 points at 3,775.39.

FRANKFURT: The Bundesbank's decision not to lower interest rates let the DAX index ease 14.61 points to 2,119.77.

MILAN: Investors took profits after recent gains. The Mibtel index fell 97 points to 9,791.

PARIS: Disappointment over the lack of interest rate cuts and a sharp fall in LVMH shares left the CAC-40 index 16.86 points down at 2,257.81.

LONDON: Report, page 28.

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