Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
Wembley increases borrowing powers

Wembley, loss-making owner of the national football stadium, succeeded in increasing its borrowing powers at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting.

The borrowing powers were raised from two to three times shareholders' funds after a show of hands. Proxy votes in favour totalled 101.5 million, with 93,000 against. Wembley was in breach of its original borrowing powers following a property writedown which left shareholders' funds at pounds 62.8m against debts of pounds 152.1m.

Trocadero sale

Sale of the Trocadero, the London leisure and office complex which went into receivership last year with pounds 170m of debts, is imminent. KPMG Peat Marwick, the receivers, said it was close to selling the site to one of six bidders.

Schneider inquiry

German property magnate Jurgen Schneider is being investigated for possible bribery and systematic evasion of VAT payments, the Finance Ministry in the state of Hesse said. Mr Schneider, who disappeared in April leaving his group with no access to funds, is already being investigated on charges of falsifying documents and faces bankruptcy proceedings.

Parsons pay-out

John Parsons, former joint chief of textiles group William Baird, has received compensation for loss of office of pounds 197,000.

More visitors

Overseas visitors to the UK rose by 5 per cent to five million in the three months to February compared with the previous three months on a seasonally adjusted basis. Spending by the visitors was steady at pounds 2,320m.

Electrolux deal

Electrolux, the Swedish group, is to pay DM730m for AEG's white goods operation and take over a debt of DM400m.

Building upturn

Inquiries for new construction in Britain have risen for the first time in nearly five years, says a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, climbing by 2.5 per cent over the three months to 31 March.

Loans switch

The Bank of Ireland is expected to take over Banque National de Paris's UK mortgage loan portfolio worth pounds 1bn. Bank of Ireland has pounds 200m in excess capital that it could devote to the UK market or to its US ventures.

Soros move

Sri Lanka will be plugged into Soros Fund Management when Asia Capital is listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange later this year. The New York company owned by the investment banker George Soros is expected to be involved in investment banking and financial services for local and international clients.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: Stronger-than-expected factory orders helped to steady shares, but by closing the Dow Jones average was down 16.66 points at 3,697.75.

Tokyo: Closed (holiday).

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index plunged more than 3.5 per cent to a seven-month low, closing 309.69 down at 8,369.44.

Sydney: Renewed declines in futures prices drove the All Ordinaries index down 25.8 to 2,018.4.

Bombay: Selling pressure in a low-volume session saw the index fall 60.75 points to 3,611.39.

Johannesburg: The weaker bullion price triggered heavy losses in gold shares. The overall index gave up 36 points to 5,254.

Paris: Against a continuing background of tension in the bond markets the CAC-40 index dropped 37.42 points to 2,141.57.

Frankfurt: Bonds again pulled shares lower, with the DAX index 3.27 points easier at 2,249.02.

Zurich: The market closed at a two-month low, with the Swiss Performance Index 28.21 points weaker at 1,767.88.

London: Report, page 36.

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