Business and City in Brief

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FAILURES EXPECTED TO DECLINE 23%

The number of business failures in the second quarter of 1993 will fall 23 per cent from the same period a year ago, according to Trade Indemnity, the credit insurance group.

It forecasts 1,466 business failures in the period, compared with 1,911 last year and 1,776 for the first quarter of 1993.

ROVER BOOSTS SALES

Rover Group said worldwide sales rose 13 per cent in the first half of 1993 to 202,100 vehicles - up from 178,300 in the same period last year. Sales in the UK rose 14 per cent to 119,700 while overseas figures improved 12 per cent to 82,400. Sales in Continental Europe improved 5 per cent to 65,500 vehicles.

SHELL CONFIRMS CUTBACK

Shell confirmed it will halve its North Sea drilling programme, but denied the cutbacks were in response to changes in the Petroleum Revenue Tax. The run-down, to be completed by the end of next year, could lead to up to a third of 200 jobs being shed.

MORE BAA PASSENGERS

BAA's seven airports handled 7.4 million passengers in June, up 4.2 per cent on the same month last year. Numbers increased 5.8 per cent at Heathrow and 15.8 per cent at Stansted, while Gatwick declined 1.2 per cent.

BUS FIRM TO BE SPLIT

Manchester's main bus company, the publicly owned GM buses, will be split in two and offered to the private sector. The split will be on geographical lines with the northern half becoming the larger entity, containing over 900 buses with a turnover of pounds 60m. The southern section will run more than 700 buses with a turnover of pounds 50m.

REPRIEVE FOR 'POST'

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp was back on course to acquire the New York Post last night after a day of negotiations resulted in agreement on cost savings from most of the newspaper unions. Mr Murdoch closed the paper on Friday, but last night Post staff were hoping to publish an edition today. Talks will continue on such issues as staff layoffs and severance pay.

INTEL'S RECORD dollars 2.13bn

Intel Corporation, the world's largest computer chip maker, announced record second-quarter earnings of dollars 2.13bn compared with dollars 1.32bn for the same period last year. Revenue in the first half of 1993 surged 62 per cent to dollars 4.15bn.

TRUST TAKES POUNDS 40m

Johnson Fry Utilities Trust, an investment trust that will invest in privatised water and electricity companies, has raised pounds 40.5m. Applications for 5 million zero coupon preference shares were turned down to ensure a 1:3 ratio with the trust's ordinary shares.

SABENA CUTS WAGES

Sabena, the Belgian airline, will cut the wages of 9,000 staff by up to 15 per cent in a restructuring expected to save dollars 140m in three years.

JAPAN GROWTH TRIMMED

(First Edition)

Japan'11 leading research institutes revised downwards their forecasts for Japan's real GNP growth in the year to March 1994 to an average 1.8 per cent from 2.7 per cent previously. An insurance company put the real rate of unemployment in Japan near 7 per cent against the official 2.5 per cent. Sumitomo-Life said it arrived at the figure by also counting people with jobs but almost nothing to do.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Shares consolidated after recent headway. In moderate trading the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 3.32 points at 3,524.38 by the close.

TOKYO: Late index-linked buying brought a partial recovery after the market had fallen from early highs. The Nikkei average ended 102.61 points stronger at 19,980.

HONG KONG: Shares fell 1.67 per cent in a sixth consecutive day of losses. The Hang Seng index surrendered 118.02 points to 6,952.59.

SYDNEY: The All Ordinaries index surged to a 5 1/2 -year high as demand spilled over from the successful Woolworths float. It closed 18.9 points to the good at 1,801.8.

JOHANNESBURG: Gold shares fell from higher opening levels. The overall index lost 14 points to 4,103.

PARIS: The market took heart from Bundesbank intervention to support the franc. The CAC-40 index moved up 6.52 points to 1,992.22.

FRANKFURT: Prices ended near session highs after a late rush of foreign buy orders. The DAX index added 20.76 points to 1,818.17.

MILAN: Today's expiry of options contracts and currency tensions kept the lid on blue chips. The MIB rose 0.33 per cent to 1,205.

LONDON: Report, page 24.

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