Business and City in Brief

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Court quashes dollars 105m GM suit

The Georgia Court of Appeals has thrown out a dollars 105m jury award against General Motors relating to the death in 1989 of a teenage driver of a GM pick-up truck which exploded in a road crash.

GM has always maintained that the truck, which has a petrol tank mounted on the side of its frame, is safe. The court ruled that the dead driver's parents had improperly referred to other lawsuits involving GM.

Orly flights hit

Employees of a private French airline delayed the departure of the first British Airways flights from Paris's Orly airport to Heathrow yesterday. About 50 staff of Air Liberte demonstrated at the BA counters, delaying the take-off of the first two flights operated by BA and TAT, its French affiliate, for about 30 minutes.

Hodgson fined

The Investment Management Regulatory Organisation has fined Hodgson Martin, the financial adviser, pounds 5,000 and ordered it to pay costs of pounds 15,000.

Perkins in China

Perkins has signed a 10-year deal to build diesel engines in China. The aim is to reach production of 120,000 engines a year by the year 2000. The deal may be worth up to dollars 550m.

Valuation call

Lasmo, which last week published a valuation of its assets, has called on Enterprise Oil to do the same. Critics questioned the value of Lasmo's valuation because of its assumptions about the oil price. Enterprise, which launched a pounds 1.3bn takeover of its rival, said yesterday it would not make a valuation because it would be 'as credible as Lasmo's figures last week'.

ICA drops Ernst case

The Institute of Chartered Accountants has decided not to take disciplinary action against Ernst & Young over its auditing of Sound Diffusion's accounts in 1986 and 1987.

Schneider assets

The Frankfurt state prosecutor's office said DM230m ( pounds 93.8m) worth of assets of Jurgen Schneider, the fugitive German property developer, had been frozen in Geneva banks.

Chemist expands

Lloyds Chemists, the retailing chain, has purchased wholesaler Daniels Pharmaceuticals for pounds 10m. The deal will boost turnover by 25 per cent at the Lloyds' subsidiary Barclay Enterprise, which supplies independent chemists.

SA investment trust(First Edition)

Smith New Court is sponsoring the first London-listed investment trust with its emphasis wholly on South Africa. Old Mutual, South Africa's biggest life assurer, is seeking pounds 50m for its Old Mutual South Africa Trust from institutions and individuals, with a minimum investment of pounds 2,000 for shares priced at 100p. The fund will invest in medium to small industrial and financial companies.

777 maiden flight(First Edition)

Boeing's new 400-seat 777 jet flew for the first time on Sunday, completing almost four hours of tests with only minor equipment malfunction. The plane is almost the size of a Boeing 747 but is propelled by only two engines. Boeing has orders for 147 planes from 16 airlines. The aircraft will cost between dollars 116m and dollars 143m apiece.


New York: Blue chips held up despite a sharp fall in the price of Exxon. By closing the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 9.67 to the good at 3,783.12.

Tokyo: Late index-linked buying took prices higher in choppy trading. The Nikkei average added 157.63 points to 21,552.81.

Hong Kong, Sydney: Closed.

Bombay: Profit-taking demolished earlier gains built up on sustained buying by foreign mutual funds. The index closed 16.28 points lower at 4,128.85.

Johannesburg: Gold's volatility took the edge off a rally, but the overall index ended with a healthy 77-point gain at 5,720.

Frankfurt: Tracking falls in the bond market, the DAX index lost 27.3 points to 2,105.78, marginally above the day's low.

Paris: Falls in bond futures and fears over interest rates sent shares sharply lower. The CAC- 40 dipped 42.76 to 1,986.73.

Zurich: A Swiss National Bank warning of little scope for lower interest rates helped to push the SPI down 8.84 points to 1,801.49.

London: Report, page 26.