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The Independent Online
BP near sale of its consumer business

British Petroleum is close to selling its consumer products business for about pounds 250m to a management buy-in funded by the venture capital arm of Legal & General. The business includes McBride, a big own-label detergent maker, and is part of BP Nutrition, which has been for sale for about a year.

The buy-in team is headed by Sir Allen Sheppard, chairman of Grand Metropolitan, who will assume a non-executive role. Michael Handley, a former director of Ranks Hovis McDougall, will be responsible for day-to-day management.

Isosceles restructuring

Isosceles, the troubled Gateway supermarkets group, said its lending banks had agreed a restructuring proposal for its pounds 1.4bn debts and said its standstill agreement would be extended to 28 May. It said it expected to complete its restructuring before the end of June.

Bank manager expelled

A former manager of Sumitomo Bank's London interest rate options trading desk was fined pounds 10,000 and expelled from the Securities and Futures Authority, the City self-regulating body, for persuading others to conceal loss-making positions of dollars 2m to dollars 3m in 1992. Zahid Mannan provided falsely inflated values for those positions in management reports.

SIB bans brokerage

The Securities and Investments Board has withdrawn the authorisation of Selwyn Life Brokerage, of Brentford, Middlesex. The directors, John David Lawrance and Martyn Alexander Clemence, have been jailed for theft.

Life insurer fined

NM Financial Management, an Australian-owned life insurer, was fined pounds 45,000 for taking on 16 salesmen without ensuring they were fit and proper. Lautro, the life insurance regulator, found salesmen had failed in 26 cases to complete customers' 'fact find' forms.

Northwest rescheduling

Northwest Airlines, last of the big 1980s US airline buyouts, has asked its lenders to reschedule payments on most of its dollars 2.4bn outstanding bank loans, about half the money borrowed to finance its 1989 purchase.

GM alleges theft

General Motors has filed a criminal complaint in Germany against its former purchasing chief, J Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, alleging document theft. Mr Lopez left GM for Volkswagen in March. Previously GM won a court injunction againt VW 'poaching' GM Europe executives.

BAT reference price

The reference price for BAT Industries' enhanced share alternative is 416.67p. This was based on the average closing middle-market price for 18-20 May of 833.33p, which was halved to adjust for the one-for-one bonus issue, the company said.

Meyer acceptances

Meyer International has received acceptances for 23,259,846 new ordinary shares or 93.7 per cent of shares offered under a one-for-four rights issue announced on 29 April.

Advisers suspended

(First Edition)

Fimbra, the regulator of financial advisers, has suspended Lansley & Co of Canterbury and terminated the memberships of Midlands Insurance Service of West Midlands, Oystercourt Properties of London and Hope Associates of Lichfield, Staffs.

World Markets

New York: Shares fell amid a 'double witching' expiration of futures and options contracts. By the close the Dow Jones average was down 33.22 points at 3,490.06.

Tokyo: A late rally in futures revived a dull market, leaving the Nikkei average sporting a 227.08- point advance at 20,557.47.

Hong Kong: Volatile trading on optimism over Sino-British relations returned the Hang Seng index to its record-breaking streak. It closed 51 points up at 7,169.96.

Sydney: A rebound in bank stocks led the way as the All Ordinaries index climbed 11.4 points to 1,695.6.

Johannesburg: Gold shares closed lower but with a firm undertone. Industrials were strong. The overall index rose two points to 3,986.

Zurich: Prices stabilised after a short round of profit-taking. The Swiss Performance Index finished 2.14 points higher at 1,388.25.

Frankfurt: The DAX index eased 6.82 points to 1,610.59 in thin trade motivated by stock options expiry.

Milan: Consolidating the week's strong gains, the MIB closed 0.24 per cent lower at 1,233.

London: Report, page 19.