Business & City In Brief

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The Independent Online
Post Office drained of cash

Cash demands from the Treasury are damaging the viability of the Post Office and forcing it to cut back on investment plans, according to a report by the Trade and Industry Select Committee on the future of the Post Office.

The committee attacked a dramatic escalation in the External Financing Limit - money paid by the Post Office to the Treasury in addition to normal corporation taxes - which has risen from pounds 66m in 1992/93 to pounds 181m this year and increases further to pounds 230m in 1994/95.

Couriers clash, page 33

BAT goes foreign

BAT Industries became the first company to take advantage of changes in last year's spring Budget allowing companies with high unrelieved Advance Corporation Tax to pay foreign income dividends out of foreign earnings.

View from City Road, page 32

Steel extension

The European Union's plan to revive the steel industry will be extended until November to allow more time for companies to cut capacity. More cuts are on the way, ending the race for subsidies, at least temporarily, according to officials. The EU's rescue plan includes cash to cover 50,000 job losses, loans for capacity cuts and import restrictions.

New Boots

Sir Michael Angus is to succeed Sir Christopher Benson as chairman of Boots from the annual meeting on 21 July. Sir James Blyth becomes deputy chairman as well as chief executive.

MDIS below par

Shares in McDonnell Douglas Information Systems closed 3p below the placing and offer price at 257p on the first day of dealing, valuing it at pounds 257m. The shares had been placed with institutional investors, with 35 per cent clawed back for a public offer at the request of the Stock Exchange. The offer, which closed last week, was undersubscribed.

Lyonnais loss rises

Credit Lyonnais made a net loss of Fr6.9bn in 1993 following a net loss of Fr1.85bn a year earlier. It is omitting a dividend payment for 1993. It presented details of a refinancing plan under which it will receive a Fr4.9bn capital increase from its three main shareholders - the French government, Thomson-CSF and the Caisse des Depots et Consignations.

Morgan money

Sir Dennis Weatherstone, chief executive of JP Morgan Bank, saw his compensation rise more than dollars 2m last year to dollars 6.64m. Sir Dennis's pay - which includes dollars 3.5m worth of restricted share options - reflects a rise of more than 50 per cent in Morgan's operating earnings to dollars 1.7bn.

World Markets

New York: The Mexican assassination further unsettled a market already under pressure. By the close the Dow Jones Average had plunged 48.37 points to 3,821.09.

Tokyo: The Nikkei 225 index gained 75.80 to 20,037.90 in cautious trading ahead of the year- end.

Hong Kong: Jardine Matheson group companies remained under pressure as the Hang Seng index shed 144.78 to 9,320.75.

Sydney: Profit-taking depressed the All Ordinaries index 11.1 to 2,169.8.

Johannesburg: Light foreign buying boosted the gold index 4 per cent to 5,973 and prompted small gains among top industrials.

Frankfurt: Share prices steadied after falling sharply on disappointing money figures. The DAX index closed up 0.55 at 2,161.68.

Zurich: Early losses on Wall Street and weak European markets weakened the SMI index 6.2 at 2,850.8.

Paris: A steep fall in bonds triggered a sell-off, leaving the CAC- 40 index off 47.61 at 2,152.56.

London: Report, page 32.