Sunday Round-Up: The main stories from yesterday's City pages

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The Independent Online
Sunday Express

Terry Ramsden, the City fraudster who received a two-year suspended sentence last week, is being pursued for more than pounds 1m by William Collins, his former stockbroker. Mr Collins, who is unemployed, blames Ramsden for his own bankruptcy. Mr Collins is a former partner of Guy Puckle, which closed down about three years ago.

Terry Smith, the influential City analyst, has rapped BTR, the industrial conglomerate that launched an agreed pounds 550m takeover of US-based Rexnord last week.

Mr Smith, who wrote the bestseller Accounting for Growth, is quoted as saying: 'The perception that BTR is financially strong is based on historic assumptions which are out of date.'

The Mail on Sunday

The BBC is planning a pounds 100m Disney-style theme park featuring its most famous programmes. The project involves Pearson, the media group that owns Alton Towers and Madame Tussaud's.

A possible site is Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire. The park would include sets from Dr Who, where Daleks and Cybermen fight, and Dad's Army and EastEnders.

British Telecommunications and Mercury, Britain's two telephone companies, are to face a challenge soon from several big overseas rivals.

Three companies, including Sprint, the third-largest international US operator, are to be awarded full licences to operate here by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Two directors of Nissan UK, the former distributor of the Japanese marque, took about pounds 2.5m each out of the company in gold bars. Octav Botnar, NUK's founder, and Michael Hunt, its former chairman, took the bars six months ago in a scheme to avoid paying National Insurance contributions.

The Sunday Telegraph

More than two-thirds of Britain's leading fund managers, economists and stockbroking analysts believe that Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, will lead the Conservative Party in 1997, the latest year for the next general election.

The findings come in a poll of City opinion formers after last week's Budget. Nearly three-quarters of respondents voted Mr Clarke's first Budget a 'hit', but many warned of the need for further interest rate cuts to boost economic recovery.

Far-reaching spending reviews into eight government departments will investigate whether functions carried out separately by the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise could be merged.

The reviews, to be carried out by special working groups under the relevant secretaries of state, could lead to the biggest shake-up of Whitehall for decades.

Eurorail, the engineering consortium put together by BICC, General Electric and Trafalgar House, is set to bid for several government rail projects.

The projects include a new 86- mile Channel tunnel rail link into London St Pancras through the East End and the modernisation of the west coast main line from London to Glasgow.

The Sunday Times

Ladbroke, the betting shops and hotels group, will sell its property portfolio and the Texas Homecare chain after Cyril Stein steps down as chairman at the end of December.

The company, whose shares have dropped on fears of a huge debt burden, is under pressure from institutional investors to restructure and introduce a culture change.

Granada, the regional broadcaster, is seeking an agreed takeover of LWT Holdings, the London television company in which it holds a stake. But Sir Christopher Bland, LWT's chairman, is ready to reject Granada, sparking a three-way battle by bidding for Yorkshire-Tyne Tees, where LWT owns 14 per cent.

Conrad Black, chairman and controlling shareholder of Telegraph Group, has expressed an interest in taking a stake in Newspaper Publishing, owner of the Independent and its Sunday stablemate. Other potential investors include Associated Newspapers, Carlton Communications, Meridian and Mirror Group Newspapers.

The Observer

Neither the Treasury nor the Bank of England is in any hurry to announce a further cut in interest rates despite widespread speculation in the City.

Officials do not believe there will be serious evidence of a possible collapse in consumer confidence until the spring, when people will feel the severity of the Budget. At present, there is no obvious sign that the Treasury sees any need for monetary easing before then.

The Government is expected to announce by Christmas its decision on a Monopolies and Mergers Commission investigation into British Gas. Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, and Tim Eggar, the energy minister, are believed to be in the final stages of consultation.

Pressure is mounting on British Telecommunications to accelerate its video-on-demand project following news that a similar service is to be introduced by Bell Atlantic of the US in America next year with an initial projected subscriber base of 1 million homes. Bell Atlantic will be the first to market such services.

Independent on Sunday

Up to 100 London staff of Goldman Sachs, the New York- based investment bank, are to receive performance-related and partnership bonuses of about dollars 1m each this year on top of their basic pay.

The bonanza follows a record trading year at the firm. Some of the 26 London partners are to be paid more than dollars 5m each.

NFC, the transport group, is planning to launch a rights issue this week raising up to pounds 200m to cut debts and finance growth plans.

The group is also expected to show full-year pre-tax profits up from pounds 90m to about pounds 150m, thanks to a pounds 50m profit on the sale of a waste management business.

The DTI is understood to have put the affairs of Guardian Royal Exchange, the composite insurer, under 'constant review' following a series of problems.

These include a pounds 100,000 fine by Lautro, the regulator, a legal dispute with the auditors Coopers & Lybrand and several writs from disgruntled sales agents and clients.

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