Business & City in Brief

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The Independent Online
TSB looks for building society

TSB would like to buy a building society, Sir Nicholas Goodison, chairman, said yesterday. He said he believed TSB was a 'natural home' for a society.

'We don't entertain early hopes for a merger, but if we saw the right opportunity at the right price to build on what we have we would do it,' he said. Sir Nicholas said he believed the financial services industry would continue to rationalise.

Indonesian link

Standard Chartered Bank signed a five-year co-operation agreement with scandal-hit PT Bank Pembangunan Indonesia (Bapindo). Standard Chartered will provide technical assistance covering management practices such as credit analysis and credit approval processes, risk appraisal and foreign exchange transactions.

Four former directors of Bapindo are on trial over dollars 450m of losses incurred on letters of credit extended to Eddy Tansil's Golden Key group.

Kodak sale

Kodak completed its dollars 6bn divestiture plan, agreeing to sell the remaining assets of its L&F division - a line of household sealants - to the New York buyout firm Forstmann Little for dollars 700m. Since announcing plans last winter to dispose of all 'non-core' assets and retire its debt, the photography and imaging giant has sold pharmaceuticals, chemicals, clinical diagnostics and household products subsidiaries.

Japan securities The Japanese Ministry of Finance has given five big banks permission to set up securities subsidiaries for the first time. The five banks, which are expected to begin securities operations shortly, are DKB, Fuji, Sakura, Sanwa and Mitsubishi. Until now there have been strict rules keeping banks and securities firms apart.

Parity placing

Parity, the restructured information technology services company formerly called Comac, is raising pounds 5.7m net of expenses through a placing and open offer at 125p a share. This will help to fund its acquisition of two businesses from the computer group ACT for a total of pounds 8.3m.

Heron disposal

Heron, Gerald Ronson's debt- ridden private group, is disposing of the last of its non-core businesses with the sale of Heron Motor Group, the upmarket car dealer, to Malaya, the car distribution group, for about pounds 16m.

The business includes seven showrooms trading under the HR Owen, Hollingdrake and HMG names, selling quality marques such as Rolls-Royce and Ferrari. The deal, brokered by Samuel Montagu, will be funded by a rights issue and increased bank borrowing.

World Markets

New York: Blue chips ended higher as the week's positive news on inflation opened the door for buying in economically sensitive shares. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 20.52 points higher at 3,910.47.

Tokyo: Ending four consecutive days of gains, the Nikkei average dipped 179.54 points to 19,969.29.

Hong Kong: Profit-taking after an early rally left the Hang Seng index 18.58 firmer at 9,550.93.

Sydney: Following Wall Street higher, the All Ordinaries index gained 7.1 points to 2,006.

Bombay: A shortened session due to railway disruption took the index down 15.45 to 4,366.43.

Johannesburg: Maintaining its positive sentiment in the face of a weak bullion price, the overall index firmed 15 points to 5,617.

Paris: Profit-taking saw the CAC-40 shed 22.66 to 1,933.02.

Frankfurt: Quiet trade carried the DAX up 23.1 to 2,105.73.

Zurich: Consolidating after recent advances, the SPI eased 4.54 points to close at 1,712.05.

Milan: With the banks strikebound, very thin trade on the last day of the account lowered the Mibtel index 101 points to 10,119.

London: Report, page 16.

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