Business and City in Brief

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NHL finance director resigns

Tony Moir has resigned as finance director of National Home Loans, and Nigel Terrington, director in charge of treasury, has been appointed in his place. The resignation was unrelated to any acrimony or boardroom row, Jonathan Perry, NHL executive chairman, said.

Bond squeeze

The New York branch of the US Federal Reserve is investigating a 'squeeze' in the secondary market for US seven and 10-year notes, looking for possible evidence that collusion is to blame for the shortages. Short sellers who need the bonds to meet prior commitments are finding it hard going in the repurchase market, where they normally receive a healthy interest rate. Overnight rates have fallen in recent days from 3 per cent to almost zero.

B&C payout

Creditors of British & Commonwealth Holdings, which went into administration in June 1990, are to receive a second distribution of 5p in the pound worth pounds 55m early next month.

Going green

The Environmental Detergent Manufacturers Association has been formed by 20 European 'green' manufacturers to campaign for 'the high environmental standards pioneered by its members over the past 20 years'.

Unilever buy

Unilever is paying more than dollars 10m for the Czech state- owned business Povltavske Tukove Zavody, which produces and sells edible oils and fats, toilet soap and skin cream. The business, which achieved a 1991 turnover of more than dollars 20m, has 400 employees and is located in Nelahozeves, near Prague.

Insurance link

The Dutch-Belgian insurance group Fortis is to pay 165.6m ecus for its 50 per cent stake in a previously announced joint venture with Spain's largest savings bank, La Caixa, and a 20 per cent stake in a La Caixa unit.

HK seeks bids

Bids have been invited from parties interested in providing and operating a second fixed telecommunications network service to compete with Hong Kong Telecommunications. Under a deal struck in June, Hong Kong Telecom's unit, Hong Kong Telephone, will lose its domestic monopoly on conventional telephones in 1995.

Oil privatisation

Argentina's congress yesterday approved a government plan to sell the state-owned oil company, YPF. The firm, which is the country's largest business, is to be sold by 1995.

ICI transfer

(First Edition)

ICI is to transfer its 50 per cent holding in Japan-based Kasei Fiberite, which makes advanced fibre composite materials, to its joint venture partner Mitsubishi Kasei.

World Markets

New York: Drug shares, under pressure after disappointing data on Merck, helped drag the Dow Jones average down 37.55 to 3,250.32 by early afternoon.

Tokyo: Stocks closed near the day's lows in dull trade. The Nikkei average was 215.19 points adrift at 18,394.76.

Hong Kong: Bargain-hunters pushed the Hang Seng index up 27.43 points to 5,686.16.

Sydney: The fallout from Westpac's failed rights issue sent prices lower across the board. The All Ordinaries index lost 10.8 points to 1,496.4.

Bombay: In thin trade the index added 9.63 points to 3,256.59.

Frankfurt: The week's losses on the DAX index reached nearly 76 points with a 17.58- point fall to 1,513.36.

Paris: Further wild swings in the CAC-40 index ended with the market indicator 14.03 points higher at 1,843.53.

Milan: Fiat's profit fall helped to send the MIB 1.66 per cent lower to 709, a fall of more than 4 per cent on the past week.

London: Report, page 19.