Business and City in Brief

Heron faces

bond threat A holder of a small number of Heron International's Swiss bonds has started legal action to get his money back. But Heron denied the move was a threat to talks on restructuring its pounds 1bn debt which, it said, were proceeding well.

Banking sources said detailed proposals on the restructuring were expected to be presented to the banks by Heron on Tuesday.

Networks inquiry

Oftel, the telecommnications watchdog, has announced an investigation into the Cellnet and Vodafone networks to give 'an independent measure of performance from the customer's point of view'. Results will be published quarterly.

Rail link backed

Bankers to Olympia & York's troubled Canary Wharf complex said they were open to all options on funding a planned Underground rail link to rescue the project.

Title exchange

Emap has been given the go- ahead to buy the Northampton Mercury Company from United Newspapers in an exchange of titles worth pounds 11.35m. United Newspapers will acquire Emap's South West Wales Newspapers business.

F&C shuffle

James Ogilvy has replaced Oliver Dawson as chairman of Hypo Foreign & Colonial Management (Holdings). Michael Hart takes over from Mr Dawson as chairman of F&C Management. Mr Dawson remains as the group's chief investment officer.

Happy taxpayers

A survey for Inland Revenue by Research International has shown that 65 per cent of taxpayers are satisfied, and 10 per cent dissatisfied, with the overall service.

CBI energy call

The Confederation of British Industry says a Brussels plan for an energy/carbon tax will delay action to curb global warming and has urged the Government to step up energy- saving.

Steel plea

European steel makers, hit by low demand and weak prices, have called for EC intervention to save 50,000 jobs. They want new limits on Eastern European imports and a Community plan to cut excess capacity.

Housing slows

New US housing completions fell 7.3 per cent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.132 million units.

Stop trucking

The European Community is to start legal action against Italy for giving preferential tax breaks to local trucking firms.

World Markets

New York: Although profit- taking trimmed the advance the Dow Jones Average was showing a 27.01 points gain to 3,201.42 by the close.

Brussels: The BEL 20 index was up 7.30 points at 1,099.84.

Frankfurt: The DAX index rose 32.96 to 1,465.50.

Madrid: The general index fell 1.23 points to 192.68.

Milan: A general strike added to caution. The MIB index fell 5 points, 0.64 per cent, to 778.

Zurich: The Swiss Market Index rose 12 points to 1,893.5.

Johannesburg: The all-share index ended 21 points down at 3,002. The gold index bounced off a seven-year 797 low to close 11 points off at 806.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index rose 30.53 to 5,756.10.

Paris: The CAC-40 index gained 30.04 points to 1,685.09.

Sydney: The All Ordinaries index fell 6.1 points to 1,456.9.

Tokyo: Renewed speculation of a cut in interest rates helped push the Nikkei 225 index up 188.66 points to 17,490.67.

London: Report, page 25.

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