Business and City In Brief

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Coffee suppliers raise prices

Coffee suppliers in the US are raising prices following the severe frosts in Brazil, estimated to have destroyed about 300,000 tonnes of beans.

Procter & Gamble's Folgers brand will rise 17 per cent, while Kraft General Foods, a subsidiary of Philip Morris, said it would raise the price of its Maxwell House ground coffee by 35 cents per 13 ounces, an increase of 15 per cent.

Counting in the House

The English, Irish and Scottish institutes of chartered accountants called for amendments to the Financial Services Act to improve the effectiveness of the Securities and Investments Board and other agencies enforcing financial services regulation when their representatives appeared before the House of Commons Treasury and Civil Service Committee.

Insurance partnership

The German insurance company, Colonia, has joined forces with General Reinsurance Corporation of the US to create what it says is the world's third- biggest reinsurance group. The American company is expected to take over 50 per cent of the venture, paying over DM1bn ( pounds 418m) in cash and securities for the stake.

Lowndes Lambert buy

Lowndes Lambert, the insurance broker, will issue 1.2 million new shares to buy Henshaw Hindle, a broker based in the North-west, for pounds 4.65m. Lowndes' pre-tax profits rose 28 per cent to pounds 13.2m in the year to March, with strong growth in the UK, Europe and Australia.

Earnings per share rose 13.2 per cent to 31.7p and a final dividend of 10p per share was declared, making 15p for the year.

Energy peak

The world used more energy last year than in 1992, bringing consumption almost back to the record levels of 1990, but the increase would have been far steeper were it not for a further collapse in demand in the former Soviet Union and central and eastern Europe, according to the BP statistical review of world energy.

Hilton chain expands

Ladbroke Group's Hilton National has bought the 149-bedroom Milton Keynes Hotel for pounds 8.7m, boosting its number of hotels in Britain to 24. The hotel was built 30 months ago.

Pacemaker sale

Siemens, the German electricals group, is selling its pacemaker business to the US company St Jude Medical for dollars 500m.

Park to Boots

(First Edition)

Boots Properties, a division of Boots, has invested nearly pounds 23m in four retail parks, bringing its total retail park ownership to about pounds 80m in value. The parks are in Kilmarnock, Strathclyde in Scotland, Cramlington, Northumberland in north-east England; Stamford, Linclonshire in eastern England and Redhill, Surry.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: Late buying after a fall of more than 40 points triggered by lower bonds left the Dow Jones Average down 15.86 at 3,669.64 by the close.

Tokyo: Subdued trade saw the Nikkei average climb 338.27 points to close at 20,639.23.

Hong Kong: Light bargain- hunting after Monday's sharp fall enabled the Hang Seng index to end 26.01 firmer at 8,673.49.

Sydney: Industrial stocks led the way as the All Ordinaries index gained 17 points to 1,974.4.

Bombay: Profit-taking, particularly in the heavyweight Tata Iron and Steel Co, eroded some early gains. The index finished 29.76 points ahead at 4,204.16.

Johannesburg: A bounce after recent losses left the overall index 34 points better at 5,487.

Paris: Stronger bonds and Wall Street's rise triggered a rebound, but the CAC-40 index closed off its high at 1,925.76, up 14.16.

Frankfurt: Futures buying, prompted by US gains, lifted the DAX 29.66 points to 2,018.26.

Zurich: Continuing its technical recovery after recent losses, the Swiss Performance Index rose 23.49 points to 1,723.89.

London: Report, page 28.

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