Business and City in Brief

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Factory jobs go at SmithKline

About 480 jobs will be lost with the closure by SmithKline Beecham of its factory at St Helens on Merseyside by the end of 1994. Production at the site had fallen 30 per cent following the disposal last year of SB's personal care products and sale of seven small brands.

SmithKline Beecham said that this, and higher manufacturing costs of the other over-the-counter medicines, made the plant uncompetitive.

Bupa loses Large Arthur Large, managing director of the UK membership division of Bupa, has resigned following what was described as differences over the strategic direction of the medical insurance business. Roger Hymas, Bupa's group marketing director and former executive at American Express, replaces him.

Airline snubs jet

American Airlines, the world's second biggest carrier, said it had no interest in becoming a customer for an 800-seat super Jumbo jet. Robert Crandall, chairman, said it was a non-starter and was not what passengers wanted. His comments came as Boeing and the Airbus partners meet today to decide whether to abandon joint studies on a 747 replacement.

Bilateral threat, page 37.

Electricity shake-up

Nigel Rudd, chairman of Williams Holdings, is to take over as non-executive chairman of East Midlands Electricity following the unexpected resignation of John Harris. Page 38.

Hanson sell-off

Hanson, the industrial conglomerate, has sold its 50 per cent stake in North Texas Cement and 15 ready-mix concrete plants for dollars 54m. The assets were acquired through its takeover of Beazer in 1991.

Related disclosures

All transactions between related parties - such as a business controlled by a company's director - will have to be disclosed in companies' accounts under rules set out in an exposure draft published today by the Accounting Standards Board.

Nottingham to market

Nottingham Group, the leading UK supplier of school equipment and materials, plans to come to market to raise funds for growth through acquisition. The pathfinder prospectus disclosed 1993 pre-tax profits of pounds 7.3m on turnover of pounds 47.3m. The offer is expected to close on 24 March.

Steel plant sold

The Italian group Riva Prodotti Siderurici has agreed to buy Eko Stahl, the largest steel plant in former East Germany, the German privatisation agency Treuhand said.

World Markets

New York: The Dow Jones Industrial Average pulled out of a 50-point dive to close up 22.51 at 3,831.74 on concerted buying by bargain hunters.

Tokyo: Sharp falls overseas and negative local factors combined to send the Nikkei average tumbling 471.85 points to 19,744.77.

Hong Kong: A sharp decline in closing trade pulled the Hang Seng down 270.93 to 9,877.43.

Sydney: Also reacting to weakness on other markets, the All Ordinaries lost 27.7 to 2,154, with big losses across the board.

Bombay: Dull trade left the index 60.25 weaker at 4,087.47.

Johannesburg: The falling bullion price dampened the market's optimism. The overall index edged up one point to 4,881.

Frankfurt: Bargain-hunting reduced losses in active trade, but the DAX index closed 46.72 points lower at 2,020.33.

Paris: Following the trend on other markets, the CAC-40 index dipped 38.46 points to 2,144.66.

Zurich: Depressed by renewed concern over the direction of interest rates, investors took the Swiss Performance Index down 46.82 points to 1,784.25.

London: Report, page 36.

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