Business and City in Brief

Click to follow
Johnson Matthey chief resigns

In a surprise move Richard Wakeling, the pounds 270,000-a-year chief executive of Johnson Matthey, the precious metals group, is resigning at the end of the month.

David Davies, executive chairman, will take over his role despite the recommendation of the Cadbury Committee that the two posts be kept separate.

Halifax raises rates

Halifax Building Society has replaced its fixed-rate mortgages with a new higher range. The old 7.25 per cent four-year fix is replaced by one for just under five years at 7.5 per cent.

QVC's bid bill

QVC, the loser in the dollars 10bn takeover battle for Paramount Communications, spent almost its entire fourth-quarter profit mounting its bid, the company's year- end results show. After taking a charge of dollars 18.8m to cover its costs, QVC earned only dollars 2.8m, compared with dollars 20m during the same period the year before.

BCCI offer delayed

An improved dollars 1.8bn offer to creditors of Bank of Credit and Commerce International from Abu Dhabi, the majority shareholder, was held back at the last minute yesterday because of 'administrative' problems. The offer is expected to be simpler and quicker to implement than the previous dollars 1.7bn offer which was blocked by a Luxembourg court.

Rogers bid accepted

Maclean Hunter, a major Canadian media group, has agreed to be acquired by Rogers Cable Communications for Cdollars 2.5bn ( pounds 1.23bn), abandoning its opposition to the bid and dropping a poison pill. Rogers will pay Cdollars 17 a share, with Maclean Hunter paying its shareholders an additional 50 cents a share in the form of a special dividend.

German jobless record

Unemployment in Germany rose to a post-war record of 4.04 million, or 10.5 per cent, in February. There were 2.74 million jobless in western Germany, or 8.9 per cent, and 1.29 million in eastern Germany (17.1 per cent). Fourth-quarter GDP in 1993, previously reported as unchanged, was revised to show a fall of 0.5 per cent from the previous quarter and a drop of 0.9 per cent from a year earlier.

ADT income up 8.5%

ADT, the car auction and security group that does most of its business in the US, reported operating income up 8.5 per cent at dollars 197.4m, with sales slightly higher at dollars 1,383.6m. Earnings per share were unchanged. The company said worries about security had boosted sales in the US residential market, while in the UK, demand for closed-circuit television systems had increased significantly.

World Markets

New York: With investors taking profits after yesterday's strong rally, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 4.50 points to close at 3851.72.

Tokyo: With foreign interest supporting the market, shares closed firmer though off their highs. The Nikkei average added 86.51 points to 19,898.39.

Hong Kong: Bargain-hunters boosted the Hang Seng index 2.3 per cent to end the day 233.03 points higher at 10,294.58.

Sydney: With fears of higher interest rates receding, the All Ordinaries gained 27 to 2,171.7.

Bombay: Volatile trade left the index 82.46 ahead at 3,827.25.

Johannesburg: Gold shares slipped on a lower bullion price but industrials maintained their strong showing. The overall index rose 46 points to 5,118.

Paris: Most of the activity was centred on special situation stocks as the CAC-40 index eased 3.46 points to 2,216.43.

Frankfurt: Thin trade took the DAX index up 15.13 to 2,124.04.

Zurich: Profit-taking as the market consolidated recent gains lowered the Swiss Performance Index 7.97 points to 1,861.14.

London: Report, page 28.