Business and City in Brief

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Alliance results up 67 per cent

Alliance & Leicester Building Society increased pre-tax profits by 67 per cent to pounds 205m in 1993. Losses on residential loans fell by 46 per cent to pounds 70m.

The society owns Girobank, which lifted pre-tax profits from pounds 64m to pounds 75m. Peter Whit, chief executive, said: 'These results are a clear indication of our continuing recovery.'

Burger King axes jobs

Burger King, Grand Metropolitan's fast-food subsidiary, plans to make almost half its corporate staff redundant amid sweeping changes by its new chief executive, James Adamson. Some 350 of the 700 people who work at its Miami headquarters will lose their jobs over the next 18 months, as will 250 of the 600 people who staff its field offices worldwide.

German rate falls

The Bundesbank allowed its key 'repo' interest rate, which is closely related to market rates, to fall by 0.03 of a percentage point yesterday to 5.94 per cent in a move to provide liquidity to German commercial banks. Economists said this pointed to further falls in German interest rates, depending on the success of the wage round.

EBRD's investments

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development approved 91 investment projects totalling ecu2.28bn in 1993, with ecu435m disbursed, the EBRD announced yesterday. Administrative expenses for the bank, based in London, totalled ecu137.3m for the year.

Ford on march in US

Ford said it planned to boost North American car production by 300,000 in 1994, raising the company's capacity in the US and Canada to 5.1 million units a year.

Taxmen on trusts

The Inland Revenue announced a consultative document on venture capital trusts. This new type of trust will offer PEP tax breaks on investment trusts investing in unquoted companies. One idea is that trusts which invest in a particular geographical region would be attractive to the general public.

Disney animated

Euro Disney shares rose sharply in Paris trading following mounting speculation that the Paris theme park and its creditor bankers have worked out the framework of a financial restructuring.

Playtime profit

Toys R Us said its fourth-quarter net income rose 10 per cent to a record dollars 374.5m, or dollars 1.27 a share, from dollars 339.7m or dollars 1.14 a share last year. Sales at the giant toy store jumped 11 per cent to a record dollars 3.89bn.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: Technology stocks helped to stem losses, cutting the fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average to 1.69 points at 3,853.41 by the close.

Tokyo: In erratic trade affected by losses in US bonds and the London market, the Nikkei average lost 59.21 points to 19,839.18.

Hong Kong: Jardine Matheson dragged the market down after a rumour that it might drop its Hong Kong listing. The Hang Seng gave up 70.2 to 10,224.38.

Sydney: Renewed pressure on the bond market hit shares, with the All Ordinaries index 24.9 points weaker at 2,146.8.

Bombay: Late selling by speculators wiped out early gains. The index fell 34.46 to 3,812.93.

Johannesburg: Drifting gold stocks pulled the overall index down 30 points to 5,088.

Frankfurt: Mild disappointment over the cut in the repo rate was reflected in a 7.95-point fall by the DAX index to 2,116.09.

Paris: Following other bourses' downward trend, the CAC-40 index fell 16.79 points to 2,199.64.

Zurich: The banking sector was the biggest loser as the SPI dropped 24 points to 1,837.14.

London: Report, page 36.

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