Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
MEPC fills more of Alban Gate

The property company MEPC has let 24,000 sq ft of Alban Gate, in the City of London, to GT Management.

Last week it signed up Chemical Bank for 164,000 sq ft. Together with Dibb Lupton Broomhead, the solicitors already in occupation, the total now let is 226,000 sq ft, or 60 per cent of the space available.

Chocolate bid

Philip Morris, the US food and cigarettes group, launched a dollars 1.5bn bid for Freia Marabou of Norway, the biggest supplier of chocolate and confectionery in Scandinavia. The offer was made by Jacobs Suchard, part of the PM subsidiary Kraft General Foods.

Apple slices

The US arm of Apple Computers has cut retail prices on many personal computers and related products by as much as 36 per cent.

Safe rental

Members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, who handle 25 per cent of private rentals, will enter a bonding agreement this week which will protect the rents they receive on behalf of landlords and tenants' deposits they hold.

Trinity profits

The pathfinder prospectus for Trinity Holdings, maker of Dennis fire engines and coaches, predicts pounds 8.5m pre-tax profits for the year to January.

Thomson order

Thomson-CSF, the French defence systems group, has won a Fr90m ( pounds 10.6m) contract to install control facilities for the Meteosat Transition Programme, the weather satellite.

Rusky business

Allied-Lyons, the food and drinks company, has bought Soutra Foods, which makes rusks, seasonings and breadcrumbs, from Harrisons and Crosfield.

Glaxo approval

France has conditionally approved the sale of Glaxo's anti- migraine drug, Sumatriptan. The drug, which was held up by safety concerns, is expected to make huge sales in France.

Dock work

Babcock Thorn, manager of Rosyth Royal Dockyard, Fife, has won a pounds 7m contract to refit the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's ship Olna.

Not censured

A report under the headline 'Panel raps Brierley bid adviser' in the Independent on 25 September implied that the Takeover Panel had censured Lloyds Merchant Bank. We are happy to make it clear that the panel's statement was a correction of a press release issued by Lloyds Merchant Bank.

World Markets

New York: Shares moved higher in a late surge on a day of moderate trading. The Dow Jones Industrial average closed 25.94 points higher at 3,276.26.

Tokyo: Programme-linked selling with buyers sidelined sent the Nikkei average falling 422.15 points to 17,972.61.

Hong Kong: Strong selling pressure by fund managers lowered the Hang Seng index 88.95 (1.56 per cent) to 5,597.2.

Sydney: Opening losses were reversed, leaving the All Ordinaries 0.1 firmer at 1,496.5.

Bombay: The account opened quietly with a 16.61-point fall by the index to 3,239.98.

Johannesburg: Blue chips held their firm levels as the overall index eased six points to 3,202.

Paris: Declining hopes of lower interest rates helped to send the CAC-40 plunging almost 4 per cent - 73.27 to 1,770.26.

Frankfurt: Bearish sentiment pushed the DAX down 38.32, or 2.5 per cent, to 1,475.04.

Milan: Tracking other markets, the MIB fell 0.14 per cent.

London: Report, page 23.