Business and City in Brief

PDFM buys into oil bid rivals

Phillips & Drew Fund Management, which will play a key role in Enterprise Oil's pounds 1.6bn bid battle for Lasmo, yesterday confirmed that it had raised its stakes in both companies.

On Monday it bought an extra 2.45 million Lasmo shares, taking its stake to 15.88 per cent, the largest of any investor. It also bought an estimated million Enterprise shares, taking its holding there to 5 per cent.

'PDFM is just being bullish about the oil price and is putting money in the sector,' one analyst argued.

BAe wins order

British Aerospace is to supply three regional aircraft to Lufthansa in a deal valued at dollars 150m. Lufthansa Cityline will operate the 80-seater RJ85 Avroliners between Munich and cities in eastern and western Europe.

Sale preparation

British Coal has formed a separate company, CRE Group, to prepare for the sale of some of its research and consultancy activities.

China venture

Inchcape, the international services and marketing group which imports Rolls-Royce cars into China, has bought a majority shareholding in a motor distributor at Nanjing for pounds 5.3m.

Burton disposal

Burton Group has sold an office at Redhill, Surrey, to CIN Properties for about pounds 13.5m, continuing its strategy of withdrawing from property development. The office is let for a rent of pounds 919,000 which, taking account of rent-free periods, gives a yield of 6.5 per cent.

Scent of success

CPL Aromas, a manufacturer of flavouring and perfumes, has joined the stock market valued at pounds 16m. It is raising pounds 4m in the float, money which will be used to fund expansion of the company's manufacturing base.

Changes due

Many of Britain's largest companies may have to alter radically their balance sheet and funding strategies by the end of the year as a result of changes in the Finance Act to the tax treatment of foreign currency and interest rate hedges, warn Touche Ross, the accountants.

Turkish delight

(First Edition)

British Steel has won contracts worth pounds 10m to supply steel to Turkey's first car manufacturing plant, a joint venture between Toyota and Mitsui of Japan and Sabanci, one of Turkey's largest industrial groups.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: Shares were pulled back by lower bonds, and by closing the Dow Jones Industrial Average was adrift by 24.42 points at 3,790.41.

Tokyo: A late bout of futures- linked selling wiped out early gains and sent the Nikkei average down 71.01 to 21,282.96.

Hong Kong: After being 50 points in front near the close the Hang Seng index turned back to finish 38.36 better at 9,149.52.

Sydney: A decline in the Australian dollar undermined sentiment. The All Ordinaries index eased 2.2 points to 2,074.4.

Bombay: Disappointment with a bonus offer from Tata Tea helped to send the index 9.94 points lower to 4,123.19.

Johannesburg: In thin trade ahead of the futures close-out the index fell 18 points to 5,744.

Paris: Weak bonds put an end to Tuesday's technical recovery, with the CAC-40 index retreating 25.6 points to 1,966.39.

Frankfurt: Lacklustre trade based on technical factors left the DAX unchanged at 2,074.7.

Zurich: The bond market and weak dollar combined to push the SPI down 17.8 to 1,779.33.

London: Report, page 34.

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