Business and City in Brief

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VAUXHALL OUTPUT RISES TO RECORD

Vauxhall achieved record production levels this year with output up by 15.3 per cent on 1991. The company built 302,000 cars and vans and exported 37 per cent of the output.

However, Vauxhall warned that the softening of European markets and increased competition in the UK means 1993 will bring the toughest challenge yet faced by the industry.

WALL ST BILLIONS

Wall Street brokerage houses raised a record dollars 838bn through share and bond offerings in 1992, thanks in part to low interest rates. This was 42 per cent higher than 1991's dollars 590bn, also a record. The brokerage houses took in more than dollars 6.7bn in fees, up 45 per cent.

ELLIOTT RESCUE

A rescue package for B Elliott, the struggling engineering group, was given the go-ahead at an extraordinary general meeting yesterday. The banks will swap pounds 16m of debt for equity, new investors will be brought in and existing shareholders will be left with 20 per cent of the enlarged equity. The restructuring will reduce B Elliott's borrowing by pounds 28.3m to just over pounds 11m.

NORTH SEA HIGH

The value of Britain's North Sea oil output reached its highest of the year in November. A boost in production and the continuing effects of the fall in sterling pushed the value to pounds 25.5m a day, nearly pounds 1m a day up on October's figures, the Royal Bank of Scotland said.

HACHETTE MERGER

Shareholders of Hachette, the French media giant, and Matra electrical group approved a merger of the two companies.

IBM ALLIANCE

McDonnell Douglas has formed a 10-year technology alliance with Integrated Systems Solutions Corporation, a unit of IBM. It will pay ISCC about dollars 3bn for data processing and information technology services.

MMI DEAL

Zurich Assurances, a leading Swiss insurance company, confirmed it had bought the municipal insurance unit from Municipal Mutual Insurance of Britain. The price of the deal was not disclosed.

TATE SWEETENER

Tate & Lyle, the sweeteners group, paid compensation of pounds 559,000 to James Kerr-Muir, who resigned as a director in November 1991, Tate's 1992 annual report disclosed.

WHINNEY'S LOSS

Whinney Mackay-Lewis, the architecture and design firm, said it made a pre-tax loss of pounds 377,000 in the six months to 31 October, against a pounds 119,000 profit a year earlier.

ITALY'S DEFICIT

(First Edition)

Italy's foreign trade deficit totalled L2,010bn (pounds 1.06bn) in November after a L178bn surplus in October.

MATRA FORECAST

(First Edition)

Matra and Hachette will post sharply improved combined results in 1993 after their merger, Jean-Luc Lagardere, chairman of both companies, said. The combined net profit of Matra and Hachette in 1992 will be about Fr350m-400m (pounds 43.5m-pounds 49.7m) in 1992, he said.

FARM PURCHASE

(First Edition)

Lendu Holdings' subsidiary Gubbagunyah Partnership has paid Adollars 3.25m (pounds 1.45m) for Oonavale, a 9,029-hectare wheat, oats and cattle farm in South Queensland.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Profit-taking erased sharp earlier gains to leave the Dow Jones Average down 22.42 at 3,310.84 by the close.

HONG KONG: Profit-taking saw the Hang Seng index close 87.52 points lower at 5,444.13.

TOKYO: In a technical rebound following Monday's drop, the 225-share Nikkei average was up 97.02 points at 17,285.64.

SYDNEY: The All Ordinaries finished up 2.8 points at 1,539.

BRUSSELS: The BEL 20 index was down 4.81 at 1,128.18.

MADRID: The general index declined 0.15 points to 214.92 and the IBEX-35 index 2.31 to 2,352.9.

MILAN: Hopes the government may announce measures to boost the market pushed the MIB up 22 points to 890.

FRANKFURT: The DAX closed 2.38 points lower at 1,542.23.

PARIS: The CAC-40 index closed 12.75 points higher at 1,870.28.

ZURICH: The Swiss Market Index declined 3.7 points to 2,089.4.

LONDON: Report, this page.

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