Business and City in Brief

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George Walker trial moved to Southwark

Criminal proceedings against George Walker, former head of the Brent Walker property and leisure group, were transferred from Bow Street Magistrates' Court to Southwark Crown Court yesterday. A hearing is not expected until next March at the earliest.

Mr Walker was arrested in January on charges of conspiracy to falsify Brent Walker's accounts and the theft of pounds 12.5m.

DAF agreement

Receivers of the Leyland DAF truck company said yesterday they had concluded agreement on outstanding commercial matters with a management buyout team. The deal will secure the future of 700 staff at Leyland, Lancs.

pounds 14.2m Hazlewood sale

Hazlewood Foods said it sold Luijckx Beheer - which makes Chocolux chocolate decoration and baking goods - to the Dutch food and drink company Wessanen Nederland for pounds 14.2m.

Goodyear restructures

Goodyear will fire 100 of its 19,000 workers in Europe and move sales and marketing staff to Luxembourg, its biggest plant, in a restructuring of operations.

Ladbroke sweetener

Swiss Bank Corporation has improved the dealing terms for Ladbroke shareholders who accept its offer of a 50 per cent increase in dividend provided they take it in cash. It will buy the shares at a price equal to a 9.15p dividend - a 3 per cent increase on the previous offer from Smith New Court. Shareholders who have already accepted will automatically receive the increased terms.

Steel duties reviewed

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade agreed to an EC request for an arbitration panel to examine the legality of punitive US duties on some steel products. The EC calls the duties on hot-rolled lead and bismuth carbon 'excessively inflated' and says they violate Gatt's fair trade rules.

pounds 6.7m Salomon 'fraud'

Salomon Brothers UK said it had issued a writ against a clerical employee and reported the matter to police after discovering a loss of about pounds 6.7m resulting from a fraud. Clients had suffered no loss.

Rains boost sugar

White sugar futures rose sharply in London after Cuba declared force majeure on all its shipments following torrential rains.

dollars 120bn up for grabs

Japan will adopt a five-year programme to recycle dollars 120bn of its trade surplus to developing countries before July's Group of Seven summit meeting, according to Kyodo news agency.

pounds 60,000 Fimbra fine

DBS Financial Management, which runs the country's largest network of independent financial advisers, has been fined pounds 60,000 by the regulator Fimbra over sales of home income plans by a former network member, Sandy Park Financial Services.

World Markets

New York: A sharply lower bond market and fears of higher interest rates held the Dow lower most of the day, but it climbed back at the end to close up 0.27 at 3,545.14.

Tokyo: Index-linked selling erased gains, leaving the Nikkei average just 4.43 points easier at 20,882.24.

Hong Kong: A day of volatile trade ended with the Hang Seng index 2.2 points higher at 7,157.49.

Sydney: Strength in the gold sector offset the effect of weak futures, and the All Ordinaries index closed unchanged at 1,741.

Johannesburg: Gold shares failed to track the firming gold price, but industrials made gains. The overall index added 16 points to 3,958.

Zurich: The market posted a record closing high as the all-share SPI rose 12.2 points to 1,430.

Frankfurt: Selective buying improved the DAX index 8.23 points to 1,637.85 in thin trading.

Paris: The CAC-40 index drifted down 8.23 points to 1,859.69.

Milan: A 4 per cent slump in Montedison shares sparked selling in other blue chips, and the MIB fell 1.26 per cent to 1,174.

London: Report, page 19.