Business and City Summary

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The Independent Online

The Bundesbank yesterday fractionally nudged down its key 'repo' interest rate to 8.13 per cent, with the Belgian and Dutch central banks cutting their key money market rates from 8 to 7.9 per cent. Economists were hopeful that France may be able to follow suit as early as today because of the strength of the French franc following the right-wing victory in the national assembly election.

The franc traded at Fr3.3820 against the mark, its strongest since mid-February and nearly five centimes above its exchange rate mechanism floor. The pound rose just over a pfennig against the mark to DM2.4472.


A management team has agreed in principle with the receivers at Leyland DAF to buy the Birmingham- based van operation. The buyout was expected to go through by April 19, the receivers said. An undisclosed price has been agreed and the receivers are satisfied that the funds are available.


The first public offering of debt securities to finance a UK infrastructure project was unveiled yesterday when Barclays de Zoete Wedd announced the listing of a pounds 131m debenture stock in Severn River Crossing, which is to build the new Severn bridge. The issue has been placed with institutions.


Two-thirds of operators in the North Sea say they are considering cutting exploration activity as a result of the oil tax changes announced in the Budget. A survey by Ernst & Young of 39 of the 41 operators shows a majority implacably opposed to the changes, although it also highlights the sharp division between the oil majors and the rest.


The public offer for shares in David Brown, the specialist engineer, was subscribed 6.2 times, says BZW. Employees and pensioners will have their applications satisfied in full. The offer of 7.7 million shares was priced at 170p. A further 23.1 million shares were placed with institutions, raising pounds 39.4m.


The Personal Investment Authority, the watchdog proposed for private investors, has appointed Lord Ackner, the 72-year-old retired Law Lord, to review complaints procedures in the retail investment sector and recommend improvements.


Audi, a division of Volkswagen, said it was producing a new sports car in a joint development with Porsche. The car will be introduced at the Frankfurt motor show in September with deliveries to customers expected in 1994.


Dixons has agreed to sell SupaSnaps, its retail photographic processer business, to Sketchley for pounds 4.3m.


Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission is investigating whether securities and futures firms have sufficient internal controls to prevent money laundering.


(First Edition)

BT, Mercury and France Telcom has agreed to use a fibre optic tele-communications link running through the Channel Tunnel. The agreement was signed with Eurotunnel yesterday.


NEW YORK: The market was buoyed by a rally in airline shares. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.45 points to close at 3,397.02.

TOKYO: High-tech issues led the way as the Nikkei average reversed Tuesday's downturn with a 342.43- point advance to 19,829.23.

HONG KONG: Continuing uncertainty over Sino-British relations sent the Hang Seng index tumbling 59.13 points to 6,281.7.

SYDNEY: Amid concern over the metal prices outlook, the All Ordinaries eased 3.4 points to 1,654.9.

BOMBAY: Returning after a two- day holiday, buyers drove the index up 97.24 points to 2,408.68.

JOHANNESBURG: Prices fell across the board on pre-holiday lack of interest and a weaker gold price.

FRANKFURT: Sell recommendations on Daimler-Benz and Volkswagen weighed on the market. The DAX index fell 15.09 points to 1,650.31.

PARIS: The CAC-40 index finished 11.37 points lower at 1,983.96.

MILAN: The MIB surged 2.8 per cent to 1,102 on the back of strong performances by Fiat and Generali.

LONDON: Report, page 30.