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

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The Independent Online
The Mail on Sunday

Senior executives at the 12 regional electricity companies have made combined gains worth pounds 18.2m from share options granted on their companies' privatisation in 1990 and have so far realised pounds 6.5m from exercising options.

The Office of Fair Trading is examining Thomson Travel's decision to blacklist 12 independent travel agents for their refusal to sign new terms as part of its investigation of alleged abuse of monopoly power in the holiday industry.

John Tate, the senior lawyer heading the Maxwell case, is to leave the Serious Fraud Office, probably in the autumn.

The Sunday Telegraph

Hobson, stock market vehicle of the entrepreneur Andrew Regan, shares of which were suspended on Thursday pending news of a 'significant acquisition', is thought to be negotiating the purchase of the food and drinks manufacturing division of the Co-operative Wholesale Society.

Markets in London, New York and Frankfurt are likely to remain frail this week with key economic statistics due out in Britain and the US and a rate-fixing meeting of the Bundesbank Council on Thursday.

Great Universal Stores is considering a pounds 500m share buy-in to absorb part of its pounds 1bn cash mountain, but the plan has run into Inland Revenue objections.

Domnick Hunter, a manufacturer of gas and water systems valued at about pounds 60m, will float this spring. London Capital, a property group with a prime portfolio of West End assets, is also planning a flotation.

The Ashanti Goldfields flotation, expected to raise between pounds 35m and pounds 70m, will go ahead as planned despite tribal violence in Ghana, valuing Lonrho's 45 per cent stake in the mine at as much as pounds 530m.

The Sunday Times

Alan Sugar, chairman of Amstrad, might offer to quit if it would help the struggling consumer electronics group recruit a chief executive after six months struggling to find a suitable candidate for the vacant job.

Glaxo, the pharmaceuticals giant, is planning to forge alliances with one or more of its competitors in an overhaul of its corporate strategy to cope with changes in world health care markets.

Mercury Asset Management holds the key to Granada's hostile bid for London Weekend Television as the takeover battle enters its final two weeks. The fund management group has a 15 per cent stake in LWT.

The consortium including Mirror Group Newspapers is poised to increase its offer for Newspaper Publishing, owner of the Independent and Independent on Sunday.

Market strategists predict sharp falls in Hong Kong following its reopening after a three-day closure for the Chinese new year holiday, following a correction last week in Hong Kong shares traded in London.

After the collapse of US-Japanese trade talks in Washington on Friday, with failure to agree on key areas such as cars, telecommunications and insurance, America has threatened to force up the yen.

The Observer

The administrators of Polly Peck have been provided with information on more than pounds 5m in illegal payments to former chairman Asil Nadir made by the company's subsidiaries in Northern Cyprus after its 1990 collapse - as much as pounds 3m sent directly to him in London.

British record industry sales rose by 13.5 per cent in 1993, according to figures out today, spearheaded by compact disc sales.

Government delays in deciding its future are preventing the Post Office entering into new business opportunities because it does not have the go-ahead for either greater commercial freedom or full privatisation.

House of Fraser, the department store group that will be floated on the stock market next month, is interested in buying several family- owned stores in key city centres, especially in East Anglia and on the south coast.

Independent on Sunday

Saatchi & Saatchi, the advertising group, is expected to warn this week that there will be little improvement in its profits for 1994 despite improving conditions in the British and US advertising markets, which would push back the schedule for repayment of its estimated pounds 160m bank debt.

Leading investment banks in the City and on Wall Street fear that profits could slump during the next six months, with trading conditions this year already much more difficult than last. Goldman Sachs, the New York investment bank, issued an unprecedented denial of rumours that it had recently suffered dramatic trading losses in London.

Christopher Heath, the former Baring Securities chairman, has already raised pounds 200m for a new merchant bank specialising in business with emerging stock markets, and is seeking further backing.

Building societies are offering incentives to new borrowers to take out variable-rate rather than fixed- rate mortgages, but customers are keen to lock in their cost of borrowing while interest rates remain low.

Market analysts are predicting that share prices and the pound will come under pressure if figures out this week show a higher-than-expected rate of inflation following last week's nervousness in the stock and currency markets.

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