Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
Lighting jobs extinguished

Almost 400 jobs are to go with the closure of two Thorn lighting factories. There will be 329 job losses at the Preston plant in Lancashire, phased over 18 months, and 60 redundancies at the Rodney plant near Wimbledon, south London, over the next six months.

The company said it hoped to offer some workers jobs at its factory in Leicester but could not say how many compulsory redundancies would be involved.

Traders suspended

Four senior traders at BZW Futures were suspended on Wednesday after Liffe gave the firm a report alleging violations of exchange rules in May 1992. A Liffe disciplinary panel is investigating further. Nicholas Durlacher, the chairman of BZW Futures, is also chairman of Liffe.

PSA plunge

PSA, the Peugeot Citroen holding company, reported a 39 per cent drop in net income to Fr3.4bn ( pounds 400m) for 1992 from Fr5.5bn a year earlier.

French jobless

France's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 10.6 per cent in February to 10.7 per cent in March, compared with 10.1 per cent in March 1992. The number of registered unemployed rose 42,400 to a seasonally adjusted 3,066,400.

Lego lift

Lego, the Danish toymaker whose plastic brick kits are sold around the world, raised sales almost 6 per cent to 4.74 billion Danish kroner ( pounds 500m) and pre-tax profit by more than 20 per cent to Dkr635m.

Bupa bonds

Bupa, the independent healthcare group, raised pounds 100m through a 20- year subordinated bond issue priced to give a 185 basis point spread over comparable government stock and an effective return to investors of 10.46 per cent. It intends to use the funds to speed up the development of its business.

Banana ban

The European Commission agreed to a French request allowing it to restrict imports of bananas from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to the average level of the past three years.

Olivetti up

Olivetti will break even at the operating level this year but will not return to profit until 1994, chairman Carlo De Benedetti said. First-quarter sales were up 5.5 per cent over the same period last year. Sales of personal computers rose 72 per cent and printer sales rose 47 per cent, the company said.

Kleinwort sued

Kleinwort Benson is being sued by PaineWebber for raiding its money-management unit of more than a dozen senior executives and portfolio managers. The American securities firm said Kleinwort and three former executives of its Mitchell Hutchins subsidiary 'improperly solicited clients and illegally disparaged' the firm, and accused it of hatching 'a pre-conceived conspiracy to steal overnight the core of Mitchell Hutchins's fixed-income department.'

World Markets

New York: Late programme buying pushed the Dow Jones index up by 11.62 points to a close of 3,425.12 after mixed trading dominated by economic concerns.

Tokyo: Closed for public holiday.

Hong Kong: Prices pulled back slightly from the previous session's record close. The Hang Seng index fell 10.85 points to 6,884.05.

Sydney: Futures-led selling drove prices down. The All Ordinaries index closed down 23.2 points at 1,680.3.

Frankfurt: Prices closed lower for the eighth consecutive session, driven by the downturn in the June Bund. The DAX index lost 4.93 points to 1,623.94.

Paris: Shares ended over 1 per cent lower, pulled down by weak bond futures. The CAC-40 index ended down 21.96 at 1,920.55.

Milan: Prices closed slightly lower with investors waiting to see what the policies of the new government would be. The MIB index fell 0.92 per cent to 1,191.

Brussels: Prices dropped in thin trading. The Bel 20 fell 11.72 points to 1,193.96.

London: Report, page 26.