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BRITISH COAL OFFERS LICENCES FOR FOUR PITS

British Coal has invited bids for the takeover of four deep mines and will offer a further 16 mines to the private sector within the next few weeks. The disposals would leave British Coal with 30 pits.

The first mines on offer are Easington in Durham, Bolsover, Derbyshire, and Cotgrave and Silverhill, Nottinghamshire. The offers are for licences to mine coal and to lease the colliery surfaces.

BAD DEBT RECORD

Building societies made record bad debt provisions of pounds 1.4bn for home mortgages in 1992, roughly pounds 400m more than in 1991.

In the first industry-wide assessment of society performance last year, the accountants KPMG Peat Marwick also found that growth of building society assets declined last year to the lowest in at least a decade, to an average 9.25 per cent.

LIVERPOOL AIR TERMINAL

(First Edition)

Liverpool airport's board decided yesterday to apply for planning permission for a new terminal to increase its capacity to a potential 12 million passengers per year.

JUBILEE LINE HOPE

John Major appeared to offer some hope for the Jubilee Line extension when he reiterated in the Commons yesterday that public funds had been earmarked for it. But he made no reference to a row over contract terms that is holding up financing negotiations.

DOWNEY STANDS DOWN

Sir Gordon Downey will stand down next month as chairman of Fimbra, the regulator for financial advisers, to devote his time to the chairmanship of the Personal Investment Authority. Sir Kenneth Clucas succeeds Sir Gordon.

LEASE COMMENT SOUGHT

The Government is seeking comments on key aspects of institutional leases, including upward- only rent reviews, in a consultative document published yesterday.

STEINKUHLER INQUIRY

Franz Steinkuhler, who has resigned as leader of Germany's most powerful trade union, is being investigated on suspicion of tax evasion.

HK TELECOM UP 15%

Hongkong Telecom, the Cable & Wireless subsidiary, increased pre- tax profits by 15 per cent to HKdollars 7.45bn ( pounds 631m) last year from HKdollars 6.5bn a year ago.

MB CARADON PURCHASE

MB Caradon, the building products and printing group, has acquired Checks in the Mail, a US cheques maker, for dollars 88m from Bowater.

Morgan income rises Morgan Stanley, the US investment bank, raised net income in the first quarter to dollars 198.8m from dollars 139.1m last year.

BICC FLOATS SUBSIDIARY

BICC, the cables and construction group, is hoping to raise dollars 41.4m ( pounds 27m) from the flotation on Nasdaq of a 60 per cent stake in Andover Controls, its US arm.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Blue chips closed at a record high for the second day in a row. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 14.67 points to 3,554.83.

HONG KONG: News of a meeting between the UK and China over financing for the new airport pushed the Hang Seng index 97.52 points up to a record of 7,447.24.

TOKYO: Profit-taking wiped out early gains from strong foreign buying, leaving the Nikkei 225 index 43.36 points down at 20,852.63.

SYDNEY: Foreign interest and the expiry of May options pushed the All Ordinaries index up by 31.7 points to 1,749.1.

PARIS: The expiry of May index futures contracts dominated trading, driving the CAC index 14.16 points higher to 1,904.59.

FRANKFURT: Overnight gains on Wall Street helped push the DAX index up 12.47 points to 1,634.47.

MILAN: A sharp dive in Fiat's share price sent the MIB index plunging by 2.05 per cent to 1,194.

AMSTERDAM: The market was unimpressed by a quarter-point cut in key rates. The EOE index edged up 0.42 points to 311.47.

LONDON: Report, page 33.

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