Business and City in Brief

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BA SEEKS DISMISSAL OF VIRGIN ACTION

British Airways applied to have Virgin Atlantic's anti-trust action against it in the US dismissed on the grounds that it was a 'quintessentially English dispute'.

400 STEEL JOBS LOST

United Engineering Steels is shedding 400 jobs in South Yorkshire. The company, jointly owned by British Steel and GKN, blamed illegal subsidies being paid to rival steelmakers which had led to overcapacity and price-cutting.

STILL HOPING

Lutine Capital Corporation still hopes to raise a private investment fund for the Lloyd's insurance market although it is believed to have abandoned plans for a dollars 300m US listing.

DEBTS RULING

The Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling that only banks are entitled to fixed charges - preferential mortgages - over the book debts of a company. The ruling, involving New Bullas Trading, is expected to hit payouts to ordinary creditors in company liquidations.

VAT EXEMPTION

Customs and Excise faces an avalanche of claims worth millions of pounds from companies and the Government may have to change the law following a European Court of Justice ruling that a payment by a landlord to a tenant for the surrender of a commercial lease should be exempt from VAT.

AUDIT ADVICE

Auditors should assess more thoroughly the going concern basis of financial statements, according to proposals issued by the Auditing Practices Board yesterday. The exposure draft, published in response to criticism of an earlier version issued last year, also urges fuller disclosure regarding uncertainties.

AID INVESTIGATION

The European Commission is to investigate the Government's proposed aid to Abingdon Carpets, based in the Merthyr and Rhymney travel-to-work-area in South Wales.

BIAS ALLEGED

QVC Network, one of the rivals in the dollars 10bn battle to take over Paramount Communications, said new bidding rules announced by the company were still biased in favour of Paramount's friendly suitor, Viacom.

MCI CHARGE

BT's new transatlantic partner, MCI Communications, will take a dollars 150m charge in its fourth quarter to cover costs associated with taking over BT's North American operations and with relocating some of its own operations. BT is paying dollars 4.3bn for a 20 per cent stake in MCI, which earned dollars 160m on sales of dollars 2.76bn in the fourth quarter of 1992.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Worries about higher interest rates kept investors sidelined and knocked the Dow Jones Industrial Average 25.71 points lower at 3,716.92.

TOKYO: The market closed higher, with the Nikkei average 180.42 points ahead at 17,489.15.

HONG KONG: Dull trade took the Hang Seng index back below the 10,000 mark. It closed 76.22 points weaker at 9,945.26.

SYDNEY: Weaker futures after Wall Street's downturn pulled shares lower. The All Ordinaries gave up 16.7 points to 2,069.9.

JOHANNESBURG: Although gold shares eased on the fall in the bullion price, strong industrials carried the overall index to another closing high, 4,634, up 40.

PARIS: A volatile session dominated by the Gatt talks, interest rate speculation and the Russian polls ended with the CAC-40 index 6.13 points better at 2,162.63.

FRANKFURT: Worries about the Russian situation and declining earnings at blue chip companies combined to send the DAX index down 39.27 points to 2,110.7.

LONDON: Report, page 38.

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