Business and City in Brief

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Entrepreneurs are proving slow to launch new businesses, according to a study by National Westminster Bank. About 90,000 firms were started in the second quarter of this year, slightly down on the 95,000 which began trading in the first three months, the report said. The total for the first half, 185,000 firms, was the same as in the second half of 1992.


Speculation is mounting that MB Caradon, the bathrooms and radiators group, is close to acquiring Pillar, the building products company owned by RTZ Corporation, for about pounds 750m. RTZ, the minerals giant, has been in talks with MB for several months over the sale.


George Soros, the financier, has reportedly sold his holdings of gold bullion, realising a profit of about dollars 100m. The sale, by his Quantum Fund, comes as the gold price continues to decline. On Friday it closed at dollars 369 an ounce, well below the dollars 400-plus it traded at when his involvement was first revealed.


Overseas City earnings (92).

Interims: Alliance Trust, Argos, Great Chile Growth Fund, LGW, Seacon Holdings (div), Takare, US Smaller Cos Inv Tst.

Finals: Benson Group, Samuel Heath, Hoskins Brewery.


CBI survey of distributive trades (Jul), public sector borrowing requirement (Jul), UK acquisitions and mergers (Q2), VAT registrations and deregistrations 1992.

Interims: De Beers Centenary, De Beers Consolidated, Evans Halshaw, Fife Indmar, Fleming Mercantile Inv Tst (Q2), Hanson (Q3), Kalon Group, Marley, Sedgwick Group.

Finals: Bucknall Group, Epwin Group, Impala Platinum Holdings, Stonehill Holdings.


Retail price index, retail sales (Jul).

Interims: AGA Aktiebolag (Q2), Britannic Assurance, Broadcastle, City Centre Restaurants, Dunedin Income Growth Inv Tst, M&G Income Inv Trust, M&G Recovery Inv Trust, New Zealand Inv (3rd interim div), North Midland Cons, Rea Brothers, Richardsons Westgarth, Rosebys, Sherwood Computer.


UK income, output and expenditure (Q2), capital expenditure and stockbuilding (Q2, prov), machine tools (Jun), British banking groups' monthly statement (Jul), building societies' monthly figures (Jul), provisional figs for vehicle production (Jul), provisional estimates of monetary aggregates (Jul).

Interims: Asea AB, T Clarke, Dawsongroup, LM Ericsson, Kode International, Trade Indemnity, Wickes, Willis Corroon.

Finals: Bristol Channel Ship, County Smaller Cos Inv Trust.


Balance of trade with countries outside the EC (July).

Interims: Thomas Jourdan.

Finals: Raglan Property Trust.