Business and City Summary
Monday 03 October 1994
Bovis and Costain, the construction groups, have formed a joint venture to bid for the Department of Transport's private-sector road initiatives. The new company, National Road Operators, has also forged alliances with the RAC, the Granada Group and Centre-file, a subsidiary of the National Westminster Bank.
Hang Seng tops for profitability
Hang Seng Bank, 60 per cent owned by HSBC, the parent of Midland Bank, is the most profitable in the world, according to the annual rankings of IBCA, the UK credit rating agency. The Hong Kong bank pushed Banco Popular of Spain, last year's winner, into second place.
HSBC as a group came 29th in the rankings which cover the 300 largest banks. In terms of actual profits, HSBC was the world's top bank, making dollars 3bn. At the other end, Credit Lyonnais of France and Banesto of Spain made the largest net losses, of dollars 1bn and dollars 4bn respectively.
This year is on track to be a record one for flotations, according to KPMG Peat Marwick, the accountants. So far, 182 companies have come to market in 1994 and KMPG says activity in the last quarter should see new listings exceed the 1986 total of 203.
Consumer demand has turned down in the second half of this year as shoppers absorb the impact of higher tax and interest rates, according to Verdict Research. Retailing 1998, its annual five-year forecast of retail activity, predicts disappointing sales in the coming Christmas season and no pick-up in consumer demand until next summer.
Shell's Smart move
Shell, Britain's second-largest petrol retailer, is launching a Smart card for its giveaway scheme for motorists. Points collected on the card can be exchanged for gifts or for Air Miles but not petrol.
Chantiers de l'Atlantique, the French shipyard which is part of the GEC Alsthom group, has won a provisional order for two 1,000-cabin luxury cruiseliners from Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but French shipping sources said it could be worth up to dollars 600m.
Pension top-up claim
The Banking, Insurance and Finance Union is to ask Barclays to top up the pensions of part- time women staff employed as far back as 1976. It will be one of the first claims emerging from a European Court ruling last week on part-time women workers.
Sometimes on Sunday
John Lewis, one of the fiercest opponents of Sunday trading, has bowed to commercial pressure and is to open two of its department stores on the two Sundays before Christmas.
A spokesman for John Lewis described the decision to open in High Wycombe and Brent Cross, north London, as 'an experiment' and said there were no plans to extend it to its other 20 stores or to other times of the year.
auctionThe first 23 lots have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
tvSpoiler alert: Find out the result of a heated final show
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
peopleWhat advice would David Cameron give to his younger self?
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- 2 Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 5 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
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