Business and City Summary

Bovis and Costain form roads venture

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.

Flotations record

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.

Subdued shoppers

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.

Cruiseliner deal

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?