Business news in brief

The Securities and Investments Board, the City regulator, has stopped High Court action against David Rycott and his Anglo-Scandinavian company after reaching an agreement that he would not conduct unauthorised investment business in the UK. Mr Rycott also gave further undertakings not to contact existing UK investors, and agreed to repay to 80 investors sums "held for or on behalf of those investors ... [and] to repay to those investors any shortfall or loss in the value of their investments".

A warning from AT&T yesterday that 1997 earnings would suffer from competitive pressures had no negative implications for British Telecom's planned merger with MCI Communications, analysts said. "AT&T is the big incumbent and has more to lose, while MCI is the stronger, nimbler competitor," said Jim McCafferty at ABN Amro Hoare Govett. AT&T chief executive Robert Allen announced that first-quarter earnings in 1997 could fall as much as 10 per cent below the 76 cents per share recorded in the fourth quarter of 1996.

British Petroleum and Royal Dutch/Shell have discovered a third oilfield west of Shetland. The companies said an exploration well had encountered a potentially commercial volume of hydrocarbons on UK block 204/19. The discovery, named Suilven, lies to the north of the Foinaven and Schiehallion fields, some 100 miles west of Shetland. Although the well was not tested, the log and core data confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons, the companies said. Richard Olver, deputy chief executive of BP Exploration, said: "This is an encouraging discovery."

SIG, the building products group, has sold its security and hardware division to a management buyout team, led by David Hunt and backed by NatWest Ventures, for pounds 65m. Bill Forrester, chief executive of SIG, said the company would require a 15 per cent return on any acquisitions it made with the proceeds of the sale of SIG Architectural Products. "We are looking for bolt-ins that would raise average return to shareholders," he said and added that SIG Architectural Products was producing a return of only 10.5 per cent on the value placed on it by the buyout team.

Traders who have lost out in barter transactions will be able to obtain bad-debt relief for VAT following a European Court of Justice ruling in favour of jewellery chain Goldsmiths. The company's advisers, accountants Ernst & Young, argued that the UK Government had exceeded its authority in claiming that repayments could only be made if the transaction involved money.

Newman Tonks, which has agreed to be taken over by Ingersoll-Rand, said the cost of defending the hostile bid made by FKI was pounds 6.3m. Full- year results from Newman showed operating profits rose from pounds 19.3m to pounds 20.6m, but the pre-tax result fell from pounds 27.2m to pounds 6.3m after pounds 11.8m of exceptional charges, against pounds 10.1m of credits last time. The total dividend rises from 6.9p to 8.025p.

Granada has sold the Plaza Athenee Hotel in Paris to PA Holdings France for pounds 45m. The hotel is part of the Exclusive portfolio and PA Holdings is controlled by a group of Brunei-based investors. In the last full 12- month trading period to January 1996, the Plaza Athenee made pounds 200,000 before tax from pounds 21m of turnover.

European Leisure announced a rise in first-half taxable profits from pounds 2.2m to pounds 3.04m. Interim dividend is being restored with a 1p payment. Ian Rock, chief executive, said American Pool Bars, Snooker Clubs and Maygay had traded well since the new year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Solvency II Project Manager - 10 month contract - £800 p/d

£800 per day: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, global financial services co...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£12500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'