Business and City in Brief

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Bifu to ballot TSB staff on strike

The Banking Insurance and Finance Union is balloting TSB staff on a proposed strike over a pay dispute. The 15,000 clerical and managerial staff will decide on 21 September whether to walk out over their pay claim.

The union wants a rise of 6 per cent, the bank has offered 2.25 per cent. Bifu said Peter Ellwood, TSB's chief executive, received a 38 per cent pay rise last year.

Housing recovery

Housing sales in August have recovered after a disappointing June and July, according to Persimmon, which reported a rise in pre-tax profit to pounds 11.9m for the first half.

Bottom Line page 20

Zeneca cancer drug

Zeneca has filed its first regulatory submission for marketing of its Casodex anti-prostate cancer drug in Britain.

Buyout survival rate

About 40 per cent of management buyouts exit within eight years while those that do not see their performance decline between the third and 10th years, according to a study of the market by Warwick Business School.

Wal-Mart injunction

The US government is seeking a discrimination injunction against Wal-Mart, America's largest retailer, for allegedly firing a mother of five for union activity in New Hampshire. It is the first action of its kind against Wal-Mart.

Seagram profits rise

Seagram, the Canadian drinks concern, reported a 32 per cent rise in net income in the second quarter to Cdollars 224m ( pounds 106.1m), or 60 cents per share, from Cdollars 170m (46 cents per share) in the second quarter of last year. For the six months ended 31 July, Seagram's net income before the cumulative effect of an accounting change was Cdollars 421m against Cdollars 332m last time.

Fujitsu ruling

A Japanese court ruled that Fujitsu had not infringed Texas Instruments' Kilby semiconductor patent, and that there was no basis for awarding damages to TI.

Poor life advice

Advice given by life asurance sales representatives can still be driven by commission, and can still be wholly inappropriate, Which?, the Consumers' Association magazine says. It reveals that many financial advisers recommend high commission- generating products at the expense of appropriate advice.

Irish Permanent buy

(First Edition)

Ireland's largest building society, Irish Permanent said it had acquired Guiness & Mahon for pounds Ir 6.7m (5.94m pounds).


New York: Late profit-taking erased a 20-point gain by the Dow Jones Average, leaving it off 3.38 at 3,913.42 by the close.

Tokyo: Another day of minimal trade ended with the Nikkei average 36.41 higher at 20,628.53.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index closed at a 51 2 -month high of 9,929.39, jumping 242.83 (2.51 per cent) on overseas buying.

Sydney: Moving in a narrow range, the All Ordinaries index ended 5.6 to the good at 2,122.1.

Bombay: Prices rose across a broad front, taking the index to an all-time peak of 4,588.16, a gain of 62.91 points.

Johannesburg: Disappointment with the bullion price and inflation fears helped to lower the overall index 12 points to 5,833.

Paris: Shares rebounded from early lows caused by Tuesday's rise in commercial banks' base rates. The CAC-40 index finished 8.71 better at 2,069.08.

Frankfurt: Daimler led the market higher on its half-year results. The DAX index improved two points to 2,212.85.

Zurich: Gains in Roche and the financial sector lifted the SPI 5.97 points to 1,750.32.

London: Report, page 20.