Company news in brief

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The Independent Online
Golden handshakes worth pounds 22.8m were divided among 66 company directors in the last financial year, Labour Research said yesterday. The biggest went to Dr Ernst Mario, the former chief executive of Glaxo, who left in 1993 but was paid until this June, giving him a total of pounds 1.44m. Eleven payoffs were above pounds 500,000 and two were for more than pounds 1m. Six directors shared pounds 1.07m in golden hellos.

J Sainsbury is to pay Belgian retailer GIB pounds 65m for the 25 per cent of its Homebase DIY chain it does not already own. A pounds 12.5m shareholder loan from GIB to Homebase will be also be repaid. GIB said that following a strategic review, it wanted to sell its interest in Homebase to release funds for investment in its core business in continental Europe. Homebase is currently integrating the Texas Homecare chain acquired from Ladbroke last year.

All 76 of the Colorvision television and video shops were closed for stock taking yesterday following the company's collapse into receivership on Wednesday. Receivers Arthur Andersen said some, but not all of the outlets, would be open today. The receivers have received several expressions of interest.

Don Cruickshank, director general of telecommunications regulator Oftel, is to issue a consultative document on Monday on the construction of a National Numbering Scheme. The scheme is expected to make the charges for premium rate calls less confusing. At the moment premium rate services are scattered over 15 different codes beginning 03, 06, 08 and 09.

Flying Colours, the new charter airline, has ordered four Rolls-Royce powered Boeing 757s for delivery early next year in a pounds 200m deal. The airline, which will be based at Manchester airport, has options on four more 757s for delivery over the next three to four years. Flying Colours will fly holiday makers booked through its associated tour operators Club 18-30 and Sunset Holidays. It will also carry passengers booked through the group's ticket-only booking operation. The airline will start recruiting 300 staff in September.

P&O said that in the year to date it has already achieved agreed property sales of over pounds 180m, of which pounds 130m have either had contracts exchanged or been completed. Nearly half of the sales were in the UK and virtually all were at or above book value. P&O chairman Lord Sterling said the company is a third of the way towards meeting the three year target of pounds 500m of property sales.

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