Business and City in Brief

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Rival bid for Leyland Trucks

A surprise bid for Leyland Trucks has been launched by Ian McKinnon, who led a management buyout of Leyland Buses, later selling it to Volvo. He is seeking the trucks and parts businesses located in Lancashire, the axle plant in Glasgow and distribution rights.

Mr McKinnon is competing with a management buyout attempt at the truck plant at Leyland, which is supported by Barclays Development Capital. Last weekend the receivers at Arthur Andersen sold the van plant in Birmingham to a management buyout team.

Writ threatened

One of the administrators of the collapsed Polly Peck trading empire is considering issuing a writ - which could seek damages of hundreds of millions of pounds - against the company's former auditors, the chartered accountants Stoy Hayward. A spokesman for Christopher Morris of the accountants Touche Ross said there was a strong possibility that a writ would be issued but further study was needed.

Cheaper Access

Lloyds Bank will cut the monthly interest rate on its Access credit card from 1.65 to 1.6 per cent on 1 June.

Clark gambit

Rebel shareholders at C&J Clark say the shoemaker should be floated rather than sold to Berisford, as recommended by the majority of directors. The dissidents sent a document to other shareholders last night setting out their alternative proposals to the pounds 184m bid from the former sugar giant.

Smaller inflow

Direct investment in Britain by overseas companies in 1991 was much less than first estimated, official figures showed yesterday. Overseas direct investment totalled pounds 8.3bn, compared with the provisional estimate of pounds 12bn. It rose to about pounds 10.8bn last year.

Orders build up

British construction orders in the three months to February were 5 per cent up on the previous three months, but down 4 per cent from the same period last year, the Department of the Environment said.

Fewer repossessed

Home repossession orders granted in the courts continued to fall in the first quarter of the year. The total of 26,910 was 746 fewer than the previous quarter and a drop of 24 per cent over the same quarter last year.

Flying higher

Continental Airlines, America's fifth-largest carrier, re-emerged from bankruptcy court protection yesterday after having shed dollars 3.9bn of debt. It recently acquired Air Canada as its largest investor.

World Markets

New York: Prices were weak on the heavy losses reported by Kodak and General Electric. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 2.43 lower at 3,413.50.

Tokyo: The yen's fall against the dollar and growing hopes of economic recovery brought active trade and sent the Nikkei average up 247.86 points to 20,454.57.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index posted another record high on rising confidence of agreement in the Sino-British talks. It closed 58.02 points ahead at 6,894.9.

Sydney: Light profit-taking in gold stocks lowered the All Ordinaries index 1.2 points to 1,703.5.

Frankfurt: A short early rally petered out and the DAX index ended 11.91 weaker at 1,628.87.

Paris: Trading remained light but the CAC-40 index continued its rebound, adding 15.1 to 1,942.51.

Zurich: With the market driven mainly by technical factors, the Swiss Performance Index gained 7.2 points to 1,325.94 in thin trade.

Milan: In a technical correction after four positive sessions the MIB eased 0.5 per cent to 1,202.

Amsterdam: Shares closed marginally higher after the central bank cut two key interest rates.

London: Report, page 32.