Business and City In Brief

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The Independent Online
George Soros backs Portugal fund

George Soros, the man who 'broke the Bank of England' last September, is putting dollars 50m into a new development capital fund that will invest in 'significant' business projects in Portugal. The new fund, Espirito Santo Development Capital Investors Limited, will be jointly run by Portugal's family-owned Espirito Santo financial services group, which will initially put in dollars 7m.

Ombudsman call

The Personal Investment Authority, the proposed financial regulator, should establish an independent ombudsman with the power to make awards of up to pounds 50,000 to wronged investors, Lord Ackner said in a report on a unified complaints procedure. The PIA said it intended to adopt the 'vast majority' of the former Lord of Appeal's recommendations.

Archer shake-up

Bryan Kellett is to replace Richard Maylam as chairman of AJ Archer Holdings, the Lloyd's managing agent, leaving Mr Maylam to concentrate on his underwriting responsibilities. This is part of a reorganisation that will see the merger of three members' agencies and the group renamed.

Catastrophe change

The Inland Revenue and the Department of Trade and Industry are considering allowing insurers to establish special untaxed reserves to allow them to spread the impact of catastrophes. Comments on a consultation document must be made by 29 October.

Energy use

Primary energy consumption in the UK during the three months to May fell by 3 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.

BT concerns

Iain Vallance, chairman of British Telecommunications, said competition and regulation were the company's key concerns with the threat of recession gradually easing. Mr Vallance warned the annual meeting that competition was getting tougher and regulation was of great concern.

Walt Disney up

Walt Disney Co's third-quarter earnings rose to dollars 259.1m from dollars 220.8m a year ago. The period included a dollars 30.9m loss on Euro Disney.

EC inquiry ends

The European Commission has ended its anti-dumping inquiry and is proposing no protective measures against imports of compact disc players from Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. The move comes after Philips and Grundig decided to stop production of CD players in the EC by the end of 1993.

Futures accord

The Paris and Frankfurt futures and options exchanges, Matif and DTB, approved a deal to link markets starting in mid-1994.

World Markets

New York: Prices closed higher but a hair below their record, giving up ground gained earlier in the day. The Dow Jones average closed up 13.97 points at 3,567.42.

Frankfurt: Shares dipped slightly after the Bundesbank left the discount rate unchanged, then bounced back for the DAX index to close marginally higher on the day.

Paris: Heavy US buying on speculation of a franc devaluation helped the CAC-40 index to a 46.47-point surge, ending at exactly 2,036.

Madrid: Stocks climbed to a new high this year as the peseta tumbled. The Madrid general index put on 4.31 points to 268.18.

Tokyo: A rally in futures prices took the Nikkei average sharply higher, up 627.27 to 20,456.85.

Hong Kong: Thin trade ahead of the resumed talks on the colony's new airport left the Hang Seng index 3.28 points easier at 6,899.93.

Sydney: Revived hopes of lower interest rates boosted the All Ordinaries index 10.1 points to 1,828.5.

Bombay: The Prime Minister's victory in a confidence vote sent the index up 83 points to 2,232.67.

Johannesburg: With gold and industrials both holding early gains, the overall index added 37 to 4,087.

London: Report, page 24.

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