Business & City in Brief

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Opec meeting postponed

The oil producers' emergency meeting scheduled for next Wednesday was postponed yesterday after the Opec president, Jean Ping of Gabon, said the date left insufficient time for him to convene the talks.

He still planned to hold the meeting after allowing enough time for consultations, but it would not be until after the first week of August.

Unsatisfied customers

Customer satisfaction with banks has nearly halved in the past 10 years, according to a poll for the National Consumer Council. The Mori poll of about 1,500 people showed that 34 per cent were very satisfied with the service they received from their bank, a dramatic drop from the 62 per cent recorded in a similar survey in 1983.

Stagecoach buy

Stagecoach Holdings, operator of bus services, is buying East Kent Travel from its employees for pounds 4.8m.

Revenue loses

The House of Lords yesterday ruled that redundancy payments under pounds 30,000 cannot be taxed. The decision will force the Inland Revenue to return pounds 1.8m to 2,361 workers at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Northern Ireland and to their employer. The case involved enhanced redundancy rights.

Training firm goes bust

Astra Training Services, the largest training company in the UK, has gone into administrative receivership. John Talbot and Murdoch McKillop, partners in Arthur Andersen, are carrying out a review of the company, which has 950 staff at 35 locations in the UK.

Insolvency review

Neil Hamilton, the corporate affairs minister, is to appoint consultants to carry out an independent review of the work of the insolvency service and its official receivers.

Licences expire

The Russian parliament passed a law saying foreign banking licences in the country would expire automatically if they were not renewed by the end of 1993.

Grand Met venture

International Distillers & Vintners, the drinks subsidiary of Grand Metropolitan, and Hanschell Inniss, a subsidiary of Goddard Enterprises and a Barbados- based distributor of wines and spirits, are setting up a joint venture to distribute brands of both companies in Eastern Caribbean markets.

CFTC rule change

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission yesterday approved rules limiting dual trading, which allows US brokers to trade for themselves and their customers at the same time.

EC bans payment

The European Commission has banned payment of nearly dollars 120m in Italian public funds to Cartiere del Garda, a paper company owned by the German Bertelsmann publishing empire.

World Markets

New York: Remarks by the Federal Reserve chairman raised fears of higher interest rates and triggered a selling wave in the bond market that swept over Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 3,525.22, off 30.18.

Tokyo: With most investors sidelined by the Prime Minister's resignation as party leader, the Nikkei average edged up 34.9 to 20,115.81.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index closed at a three-month low of 6,760.02 after losing 79.96 points.

Sydney: Futures-led selling cut the All Ordinaries 15.9 to 1,802.6.

Bombay: Heavy buying by foreign institutions helped the index to 2,161.37, a 38.05-point gain.

Johannesburg: The soft gold price added to sluggish sentiment as the index shed 39 points to 3,989.

Paris: A growing belief that the franc will be devalued, allowing lower interest rates, helped the CAC-40 index up 18.19 to 1,965.72.

Frankfurt: The DAX index eased 0.29 of a point to 1,823.52.

Milan: The weaker lira and interest rate gloom eroded optimism as the MIB lost 13 points to 1,218.

London: Report, page 26.