Business & City in Brief

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The Independent Online
Bank tightens sanctions

The Bank of England tightened sanctions against Serbian and Montenegrin companies by banning payments through London for third party trade. This covers cases where goods are bought and sold outside the UK and Serbia and Montenegro.

Receiver in

The Official Receiver has been appointed to Macmillan Stewart Securities at the request of the Bank of England, which said the firm was insolvent. The Bank has been investigating suspected unauthorised deposit taking by the firm.

Cheque theft

The public should be wary of accepting building society cheques, which could be stolen, Yorkshire Building Society has warned in the wake of a theft of several hundred cheques headed with its name. The serial numbers are 040637 to 041000.

Forte bond

Forte, the international hotels and restaurant group, has issued an pounds 85m convertible bond 2008, priced at par and with a coupon of 6.75 payable semi-annually. The lead manager is UBS. The conversion price is 223p or a 15.5 per cent premium to Forte's current share price.

CH China launch

Citic Australia and Hambros Australia have formed a joint venture stockbroker, CH China Securities, to operate as an authorised foreign broker on China's fledgeling stock exchanges.

BCCI payout

Liquidators of Bank of Credit and Commerce (Hong Kong) are making a second payout to creditors, taking the total returned so far to HKdollars 3.7bn, the official receiver, Robin Hearder, said. Cheques totalling HKdollars 600m will be sent this weekend to creditors owed more than HKdollars 100,000, equal to 10 per cent of what they are owed.

Revenue job

Huge costs and delays to business could be prevented by transferring the administration of National Insurance contributions to the Inland Revenue, according to a survey of tax specialists sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Air go-ahead

John MacGregor, Secretary of State for Transport, has given permission to American Trans Air to begin a thrice-weekly service between New York and Belfast. The decision demonstrated Britain's 'willingness to progress with liberalisation', he said.

Gas company

British Gas has formed a new subsidiary, Cogeneration Investments, to build and operate combined heat and power plants worldwide. CHP technology allows simultaneous production of electricity and usable heat.

Heathrow plans

Sir John Egan, chief executive of BAA, said that Heathrow's fifth terminal is needed before its scheduled opening in 2002. Sir John warned that by then Heathrow could be bursting at the seams.

World Markets

Tax rejection

A special meeting of the Institute of Taxation rejected the idea of running a joint tax examination with the tax faculty of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

New York: Several upbeat quarterly reports and an unexpected rise in the consumer confidence index pushed the Dow Jones up 17.56 to 3,415.93 by the close.

Tokyo: The May account opened with a surge back above 20,000 by the Nikkei average. In active trade it gained 583.08 points - almost 3 per cent - to 20,206.71.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index eased 8.87 points from Monday's record close to finish at 6,836.88.

Sydney: Profit-taking, especially among gold shares, pulled the All Ordinaries down 5.4 to 1,704.7.

Paris: Shares improved after comments by Bundesbank president Helmut Schlesinger were seen as pointing to a further cut in German interest rates. The CAC-40 index climbed 15.79 to 1,927.41.

Frankfurt: In listless trade the DAX index fell 9.03 to 1,640.78.

Zurich: Despite positive reports from the major banks the SPI retreated 7.07 points to 1,318.74.

Milan: Buoyed by Monday night's nomination of Carlo Azeglio Ciampi as prime minister, the MIB added 1 per cent to 1,208.