Business and City in Brief

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Lloyd's names to serve writs

An action group representing more than 1,000 Lloyd's names will today serve writs issued in July claiming pounds 450m in damages from Cuthbert Heath Underwriting, which managed syndicate 404, 60 names' agents and the auditor, Arthur Andersen.

The names allege the managers, agents and auditor were negligent in allowing 1979 and subsequent underwriting years to be closed. A syndicate year is closed at Lloyd's if claims from the year can be quantified. Otherwise the syndicate must be left open for existing names to bear the losses. A year is closed by names on the closing year paying a premium to names on the next year to take on their liabilities.

The litigating names, who joined the syndicate during the 1980s, allege that managers, agents and auditors knew it was impossible to quantify losses from asbestos and pollution claims as early as 1979.

NTT to London

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, one of the world's largest companies, is to seek a listing in London. NTT, which dominates Japan's telecommunications market, has a market capitalisation of pounds 90bn. Although foreign shareholdings have been allowed since 1992, less than 1.5 per cent of the company is held by non-Japanese investors.

German money

German M3 money supply grew at an annualised rate of 8.2 per cent in August, unchanged from the provisional estimate, the Bundesbank said. In July, M3 expanded a final 9.8 per cent after a provisional estimate of 9.9 per cent.

Beirut route

British Mediterranean Airways, a new UK-based airline, will launch the first daily non- stop service between Europe and Beirut from Heathrow on 28 October. Lord Hesketh, a former minister of state at the Department of Trade and Industry, will be chairman.

Volvo recall

Volvo, the Swedish car maker, said it would recall about 32,000 of its 850-Turbo 1994 model cars throughout the world because of ventilation problems the model has in extreme cold weather.

African grant

The European Union and South Africa signed an agreement to grant South Africa up to 1.6bn rand in trade preferences, with 1bn rand also to be made available through the European Investment Bank.

Gas eyes Falklands

British Gas said it was interested in looking for oil in the South Atlantic, including the Falkland Islands, but recognised Britain and Argentina would have to reach a political settlement first.


New York: Blue chips made strong gains as investors turned their attention to third-quarter corporate results, expected to be upbeat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 23.89 points higher at 3,821.32.

Tokyo: Closed (holiday).

Hong Kong: Thin turnover and weak sentiment combined to produce a dull session, with the Hang Seng index losing 36.48 points to 9,248.4.

Sydney: The All Ordinaries index climbed more than 1 per cent on the back of Wall Street, closing 20.5 points up at 1,988.

Bombay: Buying support faded in the face of strong mid-session selling pressure. The index eased 13.64 to 4,412.92.

Paris: After topping 1,900 for the first time this month, the CAC-40 index ended 41.94 points better at 1,898.32.

Frankfurt: A strong technical rebound lifted the DAX index 64.2 points to 2,024.79.

Zurich: Firmer bond futures helped to lift the Swiss Performance Index 32.24 to 1,693.04.

London: Report, page 30.