usiness and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
IRISH SOCIETY CHIEF SUSPENDED

The discovery of apparent irregularities over ownership of a Ir pounds 600,000 house have led to the suspension of the executive chairman of Irish Permanent, Ireland's largest building society.

Dr Edmund Farrell's suspension follows the discovery of certain transactions by lawyers and accountants inspecting the accounts of the building society before its expected stock market flotation later this year.

NATWEST CHANGE

National Westminster Bank has changed its minimum interest rates to commercial customers to become effective below a base rate of 5 per cent instead of 6 per cent previously.

NORTON PROBE

The Serious Fraud Office is investigating the affairs of Norton Group, the motorcycle manufacturer, after a report by the Department of Trade and Industry highlighted 'deficiencies in management'.

GM DEPARTURE

Jose Lopez de Arriortua, General Motors' purchasing vice- president hired by Jack Smith, the chief executive, to slash costs, will leave to join Volkswagen. GM had vigorously denied that he would leave.

BROWN TO MARKET

David Brown, the specialist engineering company, is coming to the stock market via an offer and placing that will value it at more than pounds 70m.

RAILWAY UPGRADE

Docklands Light Railway, controlled by the London Docklands Development Corporation, announced a pounds 30m three- year upgrading contract.

SCAN RE BUST

Gareth Hughes and Nigel Hamilton, of Ernst & Young, have been appointed provisional liquidators of Scan Re Insurance Company.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: A modest flurry of futures-led selling had lowered the Dow Jones Industrial Average 21.34 points to 3,457.00 by the close.

TOKYO: Rising for the fifth day running, the Nikkei average added 46.16 to 17,904.79.

HONG KONG: Sharp losses ahead of publication of proposed political reforms left the Hang Seng index nursing a 116.62- point fall to 6,372.37.

SYDNEY: Bullishness derived from the coming election took the All Ordinaries index up 13.7 points to close at 1,661.1.

JOHANNESBURG: With gold shares boosted by the weak commercial rand, the overall index put on 20 points to 3,439.

FRANKFURT: Strong interest was shown in financial issues as the DAX gained 7.72 to 1,717.4.

PARIS: A light bout of profit- taking set in early in the day and sent the CAC-40 index down 3.48 points to 1,988.94.

MILAN: Prices edged higher in technical trade. The MIB firmed 0.79 per cent to 1,150.

LONDON: Report, page 33.

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