Business news in brief

Gencor, the South African mining giant, is planning a two-way split that could lead to a pounds 5bn flotation of its base metals operations in London and a new FTSE100 constituent. The plans are understood to include a share sale to raise up to pounds 1.2bn, one of the biggest equity issues in London and similar in size to the sale of Norwich Union shares later this month. Gencor's precious metals businesses would retain their Johannesburg base and listing.

Charterhouse Development Capital has raised pounds 800m towards a European Private Equity fund. As with Schroder Ventures, which last week announced a $1bn European fund, much of the investment is from the US. Charterhouse was the first development capital firm in the UK, set up in 1934, and this is its sixth institutional private equity fund. It will invest in management buyouts and corporate restructurings in the UK and Western Europe.

The cost of reducing inflation in terms of jobs and lost output would rise if the Bank of England followed international trends set by other independent central banks, according to a report published today by the Social Market Foundation, a think-tank. According to Robert Chote, the report's author, independent banks usually have to induce deeper recessions to meet their inflation targets than do those under direct political control.

The Chancellor has been urged to extend tax exemption for workplace nurseries to all forms of registered childcare provision funded by an employer. The Campaign for Tax Relief and Childcare said tax exemption, introduced in 1990, had failed in its objective of improving the availability of childcare for working parents.

Friends of the Earth will today urge the Government to promote renewable sources of energy when the domestic energy market is opened up to competition next year. The environmental pressure group will say electricity from renewable sources should be exempt from tax.

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