Business & City Summary

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The Independent Online
20 face axe in Bank shake-up

The Bank of England confirmed that seven senior executives have been told they are expected to leave under a reorganisation plan devised by Rupert Pennant-Rea, the Deputy Governor.

The total will be taken to about 20 with other management job losses further down the line, where the international division is expected to be worst affected. But these other managers have not yet been told.

Dress duel

A Paris court has ordered the US designer Ralph Lauren to pay France's Yves Saint Laurent Fr2.2m ( pounds 265,000) for copying one of his dresses in the first copyright duel between two of fashion's biggest names.

Mothercare man

Storehouse is promoting Simon Hughes from logistics director of BhS to chief executive of Mothercare, replacing Ann Iverson, who is returning to the US. Mr Hughes has been with BhS since 1985 and has experience of buying and merchandising, as well as playing a leading part in reorganisation of its supply chain.

German rate falls

The Bundesbank cut the securities repurchase rate, its leading money market rate, to 5.23 per cent from 5.35 per cent.

Oman order for GKN

GKN has won an order from Oman for 80 Piranha armoured vehicles, with an option for a further 46 vehicles and a 25-year contract for spares and technical support. Deliveries start next year. City estimates put the value of the deal at pounds 90m.

Gas Canada sale

British Gas, which announces its first-quarter results today, is to sell its 53 per cent shareholding in the Canadian gas company Bow Valley Energy to Talisman Energy, also of Calgary, Alberta, for pounds 348m in cash and shares.

Volvo in black

Volvo reported a pre-tax profit in the first quarter of 3.3bn kronor compared with a loss of 331m kronor a year earlier.

TWA objects

Trans World Airlines filed a formal objection yesterday to the proposed code-sharing agreement that would allow Virgin Atlantic Airways and Delta Air Lines jointly to market their trans-Atlantic services. TWA, which is seeking to regain access to Heathrow four years after selling its landing rights to American Airlines, says the scheme is anti-competitive and contrary to Washington's goal of deregulated 'open skies'.

World Markets

New York: Despite profit-taking in oil shares most sectors made further gains after Tuesday's rally. By closing the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 12.28 points in front at 3,732.89.

Tokyo: In thin, erratic trading the Nikkei average edged up 19.2 points to close at 20,152.73.

Hong Kong: Across-the-board gains on the back of Wall Street's overnight rebound saw the Hang Seng index surge 431.94 points (4.8 per cent) to 9,476.64.

Sydney: Early gains had no follow-through, leaving the All Ordinaries 11.8 higher at 2,107.8.

Bombay: The index firmed 6.18 to 3,808.68 in subdued trade.

Johannesburg: Continuing its correction, the overall index dipped 69 points to 5,388.

Paris: A late downturn reversed morning gains. The CAC-40 index eased 11.18 points to 2,183.99.

Frankfurt: As an early rally fizzled out, the DAX index finished 7.7 points ahead at 2,267.41.

Zurich: Profit-taking eroded some gains, but the SPI ended 7.96 points better at 1,792.05.

London: Report, page 42.