Business Information Service: Last Week

THE bank holiday Monday provided a respite for the pound although most of the main markets in Europe and around the world were open for business as usual.

On Tuesday, Persimmon reported a fall in pre-tax profits from pounds 12.5m to pounds 7.3m for the first half of the year. It said it would maintain the final dividend.

A survey of top directors' pay revealed Lord Hanson was the highest-paid in the UK last year with pounds 1.38m. He was closely followed by Robert Bauman, chief executive of SmithKline Beecham, on pounds 1.33m.

Reports that the big high street banks were planning to introduce banking charges for personal customers were quickly denied by the banks.

On Wednesday, Touche Ross, the accountants and management consultants, said the number of companies that had gone into receivership or administration had fallen by 30 per cent last month compared with the same month last year.

Unipart, the motor parts group, showed how well it was faring in the recession with a 26 per cent rise in half-year pre-tax profits up from pounds 7.2m to pounds 9.1m.

With 110 days to Christmas, and little prospect of a turnaround in consumer demand before then, whisky producers were reported to be gearing up for a price war.

On Thursday, the Government managed to convince the City that it would not devalue the pound against the mark in the ERM if the French public vote against the Maastricht treaty in the referendum on 20 September. The Treasury announced it would borrow pounds 7.25bn to support the pound in the foreign exchange markets over the next six months. It helped to allay fears in the markets of an imminent rise in interest rates. The equity market responded with a 68.9 point rise in the FT-SE 100 index.

A rise in Ladbroke Group's pre-tax profits from pounds 98.2m to pounds 103.2m for the half-year to June was not enough to prevent City brokers downgrading their full-year profit forecasts. County NatWest and BZW scaled back their forecasts after scrutiny of the company's hotels operation revealed the division had made lower profits before property disposals.

Trimoco gave up its fight to remain independent against a pounds 30m bid from Hartwell, a rival car dealership, after a raid on Trimoco's shares lifted Hartwell's stake to 46.5 per cent.

Kevin Maxwell, the son of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, was declared bankrupt after he was ordered to pay pounds 406.5m in damages for the benefit of Maxwell pensioners.

From the close of business on Friday, Warburg Securities stopped market-making in 362 small companies quoted on the Stock Exchange. Low trading volumes and profit levels from dealing in the small companies prompted the move, which is likely to worsen liquidity in small company stocks.

News that the total number of new cars sold in August had beaten the 307,804 sold a year earlier by 1.64 per cent was greeted with mixed feelings. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders praised car makers for improving on comparable figures, but said the industry was unlikely to see a revival in domestic sales before 1994.

Isosceles, operator of the Gateway supermarket chain, reported a rise in pre-tax profits from pounds 3.6m to pounds 18m, helped by lower interest charges following the refinancing of its debts last January. It also announced a relaxation of its debt agreement with its bankers after it agreed a refinancing that extends the group's senior debt to July 1995.

Receivers were appointed to Berkertex, the privately owned fashion retailer.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Test Analyst - UAT - Credit Risk

£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Graduate Recruitment Resourcers - Banking Technologies

£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform