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OFFER REVIEWS POWER PRICES IN SCOTLAND

Offer, the electricity regulator, has begun a review of electricity supply prices in Scotland. It has questioned whether more competition is needed north of the border.

Only Scottish Power and Hydro-Electric supply electricity in Scotland despite the English and Welsh electricity companies having licences to do so.

BANK PROPOSAL

The Bank of England should be privatised and given a contract to achieve price stability which could be given to another institution if it failed, according to a paper written by Iain Smedley for the Adam Smith Institute. It said an Office of Banking Regulation should monitor the Bank's performance and regulate commercial banks.

ELECTRICITY JOB

Sir Bob Reid, chairman of British Rail, will join London Electricity as a non-executive director on 1 December. Sir Bob will then become part-time non-executive chairman of the electricity supply firm in April, succeeding John Wilson, who plans to retire.

VOLVO MERGER OPPOSED

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken said two of its investment funds would vote against the proposed merger of Volvo with Renault at Volvo's shareholders' meeting on 7 December. The two funds hold a combined 5.7 per cent voting stake in Volvo, the bank said.

CURBS 'INEFFECTIVE'

European Union curbs on Russian exports were proving to be ineffective and worsening the imbalance on world markets, a senior Russian aluminium official said. A US trade official also said Washington was worried that bigger flows of Russian aluminium would flood US markets as the EU tried to curb Russian exports.

GDP UP 2.7% IN US

The US gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.7 per cent in the third quarter, slightly lower than provisional estimates. A survey of manufacturers, meanwhile, pointed to a pick-up in production in October.

THYSSEN LOSS

The German steel group Thyssen AG reported a group net loss of DM994m ( pounds 391m) after a profit of DM350m last year.

ACTUARY TAKEOVER

Alexander & Alexander Services became one of the largest actuarial and human resource consultants in the UK through the acquisition of Clay & Partners, the country's third-largest actuaries partnership. The firm will have 650 staff at 13 offices.

CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS

One in five UK bank and building society customers surveyed by Which? has experienced either standing order or direct debit mistakes, the Consumers' Association's magazine says.

M&S APPOINTS FAR EAST DIRECTOR

(First Edition)

Marks & Spencer yesterday underlined its commitment to expansion in the Far East with the appointment of Paul Smith as director for the area. His post as head of the US and Canada will be taken by Chris Littmoden, the director of financial control.

Robert Colvill becomes finance director, adding Mr Littmoden's responsibilities to his existing treasury and financial services functions.

POWER PRICE INQUIRY

(First Edition)

Offer, the electricity regulator, has begun a review of electricity supply prices in Scotland. Offer has questioned whether more competition is needed north of the border. Only Scottish Power and Hydro-Electric supply electricity in Scotland despite the English and Welsh electricity companies having licences to do so.

US STATISTICS

(First Edition)

The US gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.7 per cent in the third quarter, slightly lower than provisional estimates. A survey of manufacturers, meanwhile, pointed to a pick-up in production in October.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Shares enjoyed a broadly-based rally with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 13.13 points better at 3,697.08 in brisk trading.

TOKYO: Buying by institutions on hopes of further government measures to revive the market catapulted the Nikkei average 718.77 higher to 17,125.31.

HONG KONG: The Hang Seng index gained 128.82 to 9,254.03 on prospects of an electoral package expected today.

JOHANNESBURG: Strong demand for golds and industrials lifted the overall index 46 to 4,210.

ZURICH: The SMI advanced 35.8 points to a year's high of 2,774.3.

FRANKFURT: Speculation that the Bundesbank will cut interest rates today propelled the DAX index 32.01 ahead to 2,089.78.

PARIS: Optimism over lower rates sent the CAC-40 index soaring 43.89 to 2,153.98, a rise of 2.08 per cent.

LONDON: Report, page 38.

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