Business and City Summary

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The Independent Online
Small firms take lead in recovery

Smaller companies are leading the recovery in manufacturing industry, according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry and Pannell Kerr Foster, the accountancy firm.

The poll showed that total orders and output increased over the past four months at the fastest rate for five years. More smaller companies increased employment than reduced it in the same period and the trend is set to continue, albeit at a slower pace, the survey found.

Multimedia stake

The recently floated venture capitalist 3i is to invest pounds 4m for a 25 per cent stake in First Information Group, the independent multimedia company. FIG, set up last year after a management buy-in/buyout of Chrysalis Multimedia, plans to transform a range of book titles using digitalised moving and still images, sound and text.

No green gain

British companies are treading water on disclosure of environmental issues, according to a survey by Company Reporting, the review of financial reporting practice. The survey of recently published company accounts showed that the proportion of companies making some kind of environmental disclosure has not risen from the 25 per cent recorded two years ago. But there has been a 50 per cent drop in companies giving quantifiable targets and a 23 per cent drop in quantifying achievements.

Legal costs cut

Insurers are expected to benefit from a change in the law affecting the use of video evidence in court, according to Berrymans, the solictors. The Court of Appeal's ruling that plaintiffs must be made aware of video evidence to be used by a defendant means that fewer cases are expected to reach court, resulting in large savings in legal fees for insurance companies.

Kuwait sell-off

Kuwait's Finance Minister, Nasser al-Rawdhan, yesterday announced a dollars 12bn plan to privatise state-owned enterprises. He said it would cover the water, electricity and communications sectors.

TODAY

M0 figures.

Interims: Abbey National, Caverdale Group, Corporate Services, Govett & Co, Seacon.

Finals: Brandon Hire, Dunton.

TOMORROW

Advance energy statistics. UK official reserves. Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin.

Interims: BP, Cowie, Holmes Protection, NatWest, Yorkshire Chemicals.

Finals: Crown Eyeglass, Ewart, Scott Pickford.

WEDNESDAY

Major British banking groups' quarterly analysis of lending. Full monetary statistics. Overseas travel and tourism.

Interims: Fairway, Halkin Holdings, Harrisons & Crosfield, Lincoln House, Ransomes, Trencherwood, Wickes.

Final: BCE.

THURSDAY

Housing starts and completions.

Interims: Allied Irish Banks, Glynwed International, Kleinwort Benson, Rotork, TI Group.

Finals: Abbey, Crest Packaging, GM Firth Holdings, Westport Group, Whinney Mackay- Lewis.

FRIDAY

Family Spending - a report on the 1993 Family Expenditure Survey. Index of production. Cyclical indicators for the UK economy. Insolvency statistics. Bankruptcy statistics.

Interim: British Alcan Aluminium.

Final: Wholesale Fittings.

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