Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
Trade Indemnity edges up

Trade Indemnity, Britain's leading trade credit insurer, yesterday warned that business failures would continue at a high level for the rest of the year.

The company surprised the market by announcing its interim results a month earlier than usual. It gave no advance warning, avoiding speculation following recent share price weakness.

Premium income edged up to pounds 69.7m from pounds 68.1m in the same period a year ago, while claims fell 11 per cent to pounds 72.2m from pounds 81.3m. Provisions increased by pounds 8.2m compared with a pounds 37.7m rise in the first half of 1991. No dividend was paid.

Pair charged

A former junk bond analyst for Merrill Lynch and a Virginia business executive were indicted by a Manhattan federal grand jury on charges growing out of junk bond trading. The five-count indictment against Edward Scherer, 32, and Ellis Strelitz, 31, alleges conspiracy, wire fraud and commercial bribery.

Coal closures

British Coal is to bring forward the early closure of two collieries in South Wales, at Taffnerthyr and Betws, with the loss of almost 500 jobs.

Mercedes down

Production of cars at Mercedes-Benz, the automotive division of Daimler-Benz, was down 4.2 per cent in the first half of 1992 to 284,500 vehicles, from 297,000 in the same period last year.

Issue doubled Royal Bank of Scotland has doubled the amount of its planned dollar preference share issue to dollars 400m after strong investor demand.

Business hope International business is slightly more optimistic in the present quarter than in the previous one, according to Dun & Bradstreet's latest survey of executives in 15 countries.

NHL refinancing National Home Loans has completed the second of three stages of a refinancing of all borrowings.

CIS credit The Export Credit Guarantee Department has published criteria for Russian projects, including that they should be self- financing from hard-currency earnings, and involve continuing links with the UK exporter.

Guinness debt

Guinness has signed a dollars 1bn programme for the issuance of debt instruments, which is intended to be a flexible platform that can embrace privately placed medium-term notes and London-listed eurobonds.

BG goes Thai

(First Edition)

British Gas and Tractebel of Belgium have won a pounds 175m contract for a combined electricity, steam and water plant in Thailand.

Chairman dies

(First Edition)

William Taylor, 53, the banker appointed last year to head the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, died yesterday, a week after entering a Virginia hospital for colon surgery.

World Markets

New York: Investors shunned the market ahead of President Bush's address. By the close the Dow Jones average was 2.17 points lower at 3,304.89.

Paris: Oil firms Total and Elf plunged, dragging the CAC-40 index down 10.03 points at 1,724.18.

Milan: The MIB index closed 0.89 per cent higher at 795.

Frankfurt: In volatile trading shares closed near a new 1992 low on concerns about Commerzbank's exposure to the Danish insurer Hafnia.

Bangkok: The SET index ended 0.68 points higher at 758.40.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index plummeted 138.83 points to 5,481.61.

Sydney: The All Ordinaries index ended 8 points down at 1,553.6 as a Adollars 35m sell portfolio overhung the market.

Tokyo: The market rebounded and the Nikkei average leapt 617.02 points to 15,267.76.

Johannesburg: Mining shares took a beating. The overall index closed off 10 points at 3,157.

London: Report, page 23.

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