The Guardian from London, Greater London, England on July 2, 1976 · 20
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England · 20

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Friday, July 2, 1976
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ZV I'viday July 2 WYb .-."I'Vi-'.Pi- Guardian City Office : 831 Salisbury House, London Wail EC2M 5QQ -'page22''' . r Financial Editor. HmtejMcRaij ' . ; - n , Company news and ........ page 21 Rough ride for chemical industry THE ALL-PARTY committee on the chemical industry heard yesterday that, although there is now a clear improvement in trade for Britain's chemical Industry, recovery "will not be a smooth ride." Speakers from the Chemical Industries Association told MPs that although export trade recovery is already brisk, the recovery in ' the home market is lagging, but could show itself before the end of the year. Euro loan THE NATIONAL Bank of Hungary has obtained a $150 millions five-year Eurocurrency loan under an agreement signed in London yesterday with a grinp of 28 banks led by Bankers Trust International, and including the Midland Bank. Tube advisers . KLEINWOKT, BENSON, the London merchant bank, said it had been appointed consultant- on the financial aspects of lenders for equipment for the new 400 million Caracas underground in Venezuela. The line will run a distance of 20 kilometres. Airline losses AIR FRANCE expects to lose 200 million francs this yeas on the operation of Concorde, according to Br Gilbert Peroi, director general of the airline. He added that he expected Concorde to he profitable in three or four years time, provided it was authorised to iand at New York. An overall loss of 250 million francs is expected by Air France this year, compares ilh a loss of 419 million francs in 1975. Oil losses A CONCRETE drilling platform for oil exploration' off the Shetland Islands Is likely' to . land the Anglo-Dutch group building it with an 80 millions loss. But such a loss will not be disastrous, mainly because the risk is spread between, the four Dutch and three British companies building it. Soviet pipline THE STATE-OWNED National Iranian Oil Company will seek a long-term foreign loan of $2,100 millions to finance a gas pipeline from Iran to the Soviet Union. InesfmentTrust Earnings per stock unit show 12 annual compound increase over 10 years j Summary of Results I I Ordinary-Stockholders ( Earnings per stock unit I ' of25p ., Dividondperstockun'rt I of25p i investments at Valuation Net assets I NetassatvBlueperstock unitof25p i AdiustedtoaHowforth8"Scrip"(ssu8madein j February, 1 976 and the subsequent subdivision of the JjStockUn'rtsof 1 each into StockUnits of 25peach. In his annual statement, Mr. Alastait F. Roger, the Chairman, commenting on past performance, said that the Company had achieved an Increase in earnings per stock unit over the past 1 0 years at an annual compound rate of 1 2 per cent and the divide nd had increased ata rate of 1 6 pe r cent. Plans for the future Reviewing plans forth?f!itu?e, Mr, Roger said itwasthfl intention todiversIfythoCompany'sinvestmentportfolio by building up a series of holdings In well-established unquoted companies. However, those investrnents,6'rther at home or, subject to the necessary consents, abroad, would notamourjt to more than 60 par cent At the portfolio. ' This policy would enable Investors in the Company, both Institutional and private, tohavsanintcrestinunquoted companleswhich would not normally be- available to them. Electra Group Services Uitihad 'Your Company hotds17.25 per cent of Electra Grpup Services Umltod'a Issued capital and has a management contractwimrtThattjmpanylsexpandingitsbuslnessto ' mctuds the management of Investment portfolios or pension furids,otherlrisUtutionaUrivestoi3and substantial private clients These activities will, Intha longterm, produce a s toadKy increasing revenue for your Company." m MORA HOUSE COMPANY i TJmalJttaoitfiatlvetremfti3iBMmhtS76 ' unbotiUtodfnmthtSttaUrla:EfatQKip Sarvkl UmlfS. Beetn Hota. TempU Plo), VhXali Embwkment, London WC2R Dublin recovery The Irish Government's tottering economic policies received another severe- body blow yesterday. A review of the economy concluded, in effect, that recovery had come and gone, hastened away by Dublin's' budgetary activities. The review, by ' the Irish Economic and Social Research Institute, forecast an inflation rate of 18 per cent this year, a significant increase in unemployment, a growth late of a mere per cent and a' fall in consumer spending. By the end of Che year, it says, there .could be 135,000 people out of work, over 20,000 more than at present The report's political damage for the Government was immediately apparent from tl,e Opposition's reaction. It described it as a "devastating indictment " of Government action. Firms ready to Invest By VICTOR KEEGAN and JOHN CARVEL The Confederation of British the revised price code which, the Government was prepared Industry said last night that they claim, does not go nearly to increase company profit-industry would press on with far . enough in restoring com- ability and transfer resources capital investment and the pany profitability. to productive industry, industry reactivation of spare- capacity in spite of this hostile stance would press on mth irmesfe. if the Government implemented which is partly a bargaining ment. its "stated plans to strengthen posture during the 28-day This is the biggest hint so far manufacturing industry. period when amendments are that the employers misht be ; Jih a 35 5aL?eet' P,os!We' the,CBI Pis prepared to start an initiative iS5.ndSri ft w?cver, a JS e ,ne meeting of . the of their own if further con- hundred of the CBI's top National Economic Develop- cessions arp forthcmniti!? members which reaffirmed the ment Council and consultations it L LnwT n ic " Bolivia to urge tin price increases By RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR A new international tin buffer stock to prevent prices agreement the fifth yester- from rising again, day came into force aaainst a Britain. France.- the Npihor. background of soaring prices and a .depleted buffer stock that is certain to lead to con- tribute with Britain's share tinning strains between pro- amounting initially to 6 mli-ducers and consumers. lions but the United States Unlike past agreements, it is not expected to follow suit, has been negotiated under the At present, the main financial official auspices of the United -burden has been' on the pro-Nations, and Mr Gamani Corea, ducers. Secretary-General of the United Bolivia has said that it can Nations Conference on Trade guarantee its participation for ana jjeveiopment maae mucn of his hope that it would provide a model for UNCTAD's controversial proposals for an integrated commodity programme. After some hesitation, Bolivia, a major producer, agreed to participate in agreement but is the new likely to nress for higher price ranges, Equally, however, the low level of stocks should encourage consumers to make voluntary 1 contributions to finance a new 1 197576 197475 1526,560 1,506,237 3.990p 3.138p 3.60p 2.40p 31 st March 1976 1975 54,650,256 46,445,922 58,322,373 44,785,042 1191P 93ip J By OUR DUBLIN How.ever, the Finance-Minister, Mr Richie Ryan, claimed it was too pessimistic and based on a number of incorrect assumption's. He' said that his department's experts, the EEC and the. Irish Central Bank had ' all reached ' a different conclusion. ' The Institute added yesterday that the present bank-strike could worsen Its already pessimitic forecast if it is belonged. It reiterated the need for a pay freeze if Irish goods are to remain competitive abroad, arid to protect employment. ' There is however, no prospect of a total pay freeze at this stage. Trade unionists will vote tomorrow on a national wage agreement which would give them increases ranging front 6 to 10.15 a week over 13 months. The agreement will probably be rejected, but the Govern r lands, Canada, and Belgium have already asreed to con- a year oniy. its approacn there after will depend on how far consumers are prepared "to give the producers a better deal. The main objective of the tin agreement and other commodity arrangements that have been negotiated or which are planned is to stabilise prices, with the buffer stock selling when prices threaten to rise above the ceiling, and buying to prevent prices falling through She floor. However, to spite of - Mr Corea's forced optimism at the first meeting of the new Tin Council in London yesterday, Mr Alan Williams, Minister of State at. the Department of Industry, repeated Britain's reticence amply demonstrated at last month's UNCTAD meeting in Nairobi towards proposals for similar commodity arrangements for a wide range of products, and financed through a common fund. Beyer stake In a 541,000 deal, a Saudi Arabian building company, National Chemical Industries. has acquired a 27 per cent staxe in Beyer Peacock, the bomerset light engineering group. Aoout zo per cent of the shares bought by the Saudis belonged to the 27' oer rent stake in Beyer originally con- iroueu oy moore Hoidtngs. Moore Holdings lost a bitteriv contested battle for Beyer in 1974 and was left with a large Brokers THE HOW which threatened to spilt the British insurance industry is over with a clear victory 'for companies rejecting the original proposals for changes in insurance brokers' commission. The Life Oifices Association fLOA). which represents most life companies, announced yesterday that it is to improve the terms members can offer brokers selling whole life policies. Brokers will be able to get up to 30 per cent of the second year's premiums as well as up to 60 per cent of those paid in the first year. Under the original plans due to come in yesterday but suspended on June 10 for three months, companies would have been limited to providing the first year's figure, and the 2J per cent renewal commission paid each year. Two major companies Friends' Provident and Sun Life have forced this chance in the position that the Life Offices Association took up. They made clear that they CORRESPONDENT ment has made clear that it accents the amounts as the national norm; and will only, resist attempts ' at greater increases. The bank dispute is the first test of its resolve. The Institute's grim predictions contrast with its forecast last January of 11. per. cent inflation and 2 per cent growth in 1976. Now, it says, the economy is faced with difficulties which seem to be insurmountable. It blames the deterioration on the national wage agreement and the Government's January Budget which greatty'increased indirect taxation. Its criticism of the wage agreement, a major plank of Government policy, is on the basis that it villi increase wage costs much faster than in Britain. Irish goods will then lose their competitiveness in Britain, still by far the Republic's most important market.' merely exploring what could be forthcoming from the employers if circumstances change and it is likely that not even the leaders know at this stage what the outcome- might be. . There has been considerable soul searching in the CBI recently over tne negative posture which the employers' organisation has at a time when the unions appear to be making sacrifices in the nanonai interest. But the CBI feels that there is not much . it can do until industry's battered finances are repaired, hence the ttrong reaction to the Government's apparently generous package -which could boost profitability over the next year by 1,000 millions or nearly 10 per cent. Readicut asks for more cash Readicut International, the textile, group, with big mail order and overseas interests in rug kits, is asking shareholders for 3.4 millions to provide for this year's capital spending programme. The cash is being raised through a one-for-four rights issue at 22ip a share. A 25 per cent increase in the dividend for the year to March $1 is forecast. The record of rapid growth achieved by the company, based on considerable expenditure and the grasping of opportunities, particularly overseas, took profit to 5.6 millions last year, from 4.15 millions previously. The board says that in addition to. capital expenditure of 2.6 millions', this year, against the previous 1.8 million,' 2.4 millions will be needed to finance working capital. In his annual' report, published earlier this week, the chairman, Mr F. A. Newhouse, said that prospects for exports, which accounted for 10.8 millions of last year's 40.6 millions turnover, were eaad. This year's dividend Is forecast at 1.420 a share and the shares. at 29p, regained an initial loss on the announcement. offered By TOM would offer a BO per cent fi,jure in the first two years, whatever the LOA decreed. It would have then been up to the association to acquiesce or to expel them. The official plans were only withdrawn when it seemed that there would not be time for- a compromise before the original deadline yesterday. The terms on whole of life policies still depend on the age of the person insured with 2J ' per . cent of the premium going to the broker for each year that the holder is expected to live. Thus, brokers will get the 80 per cent of the first .year's premium for everyone whose life' expectancy is over 24 years. The extra percentage in year two depends on his ' introducing someone young enough to have more than thirty years life expectancy. The Life Offices Association stressed two points last .night. The decision on whether to pay . the extra commission, in the second year is up to the aouoxeo JfllHi But Mr Ryan disputed their findings.. Their - forecast' on employment and production was' contrary to all' the indicators, he said. Industrial exports had risen by .10 per cent so far this year, compared to 4, per cent.last year. He defended his Budget as a neutral one and denied that there -was any fall in-investment. But the- latest consumer price index, ; published , this week, showed that tax increases had contributed-significantly to the 8 per cent rdse in ' living costs in the three months up to -May. The Institute suggested that consumer spending iad picked BP some time later last year in the first stage of recovery from the economic; .recession. But the Budget in- 3armary again cut purchasing iMwea and contributed heavily to inflation. The. recovery Vias not. lasted long enough to allow a parallel increase in , industrial investment it says. THE BRITISH Sugar Corporation, where profits fell last year after the lowest crop in 25 years, looks set for recovery in . this trading period. Directors said yesterday they estimated profit before tax for the 12 months .to September .26 would be about 12 millions. That Would compare with the 7,648,000 recorded last time and. the best tally of 14,361,000 in the year before that, . The interim dividend this time comes to 4.64Sp a share,, and the directors say they expect to , recommend the same rate for the final payment to make a total of 9.29p, . the maximum allowed Under Government regulations. Support strings THE SANKEI shimbun newspaper quotes Japanese Government sources as saying the seven nations, attending the Puerto Rico Summit agreed to support the lira on condition a coalition government, including . Communists, was not formed in Italy. Bank charge up THE BANK of Scotland announced an increase in personal current account charges from 6p to' 8p. per cheque. In & month when a. minimum balance of 50 is maintained there will be no. ' charge. London, Midland THE "SATISFACTORY" results forecast by London and Midland Industrials, turn out to be an increase from 1,259,000 to 1,360,000 in the pretax profit for the year to March 31. A final dividend of 2.42p makes a maximum permitted total of 4.02p against 3.7p. $500M loan ; THE US Treasury yesterday lent $500 millions to New-York, helping the fUianclally-troubled dry of its latest money crisis. British Sugar 200p Iiobpl . i i . LI. .LI -JJ improved terms TICKELL companies themselves. They are under no obligation to provide it Any group which opts to pay the extra funds will have to stop paying the annual renewal commission to the broker once the policy concerned has been running for more than twenty years. The new system . may be more generous to brokers than the proposals which the LOA abandoned but it will still give them much less than they receive under the present arrangements. At the moment companies give people - who introduce new business 2 per cent , of the guaranteed , sum assured which Is the minimum figure which the companies promise to pay out on death. - The brokers do best 'by selling whole life policies without profit to young people, where the holders' dependents would get nothing but the figure mentioned in the Initial contract; The companies did not have to make any allowance1 to add profit, so that the as d By ALEX BRUMMER, Financial Correspondent The- recovery in the value" bit' the Dound gained mornentiiiri rm ifo friwn exchange '; markets yesterday official- reserves of. foreim WitJi sentiment atparentlv buoyed up this week by action on public spending, Most Of the btlvinp rfovMnnflfi in the afternoon after the open-in!? Of the Ttfw Vnrir marten when several large commercial oraers were. channeled through New-York banks. This brought European buyers back lntoThe market on soma rb'b f nr . the first time for several weeks. Bv the cIqsb of hnrfnecc in London the rate had slipped back to-$1.7890 where 'it was lust under half a cent up and later in New York 'it slipped awav a little further. However. luuuii nas gained nearly two" cents and last night was stand- Ing at its highest point for over a r&omn. The recovery against tie cur- .millions defence. operation con-rencies of Britain's major trad- .ducted in the previous three Ing partners has also been 'months, it is now virtually evident with the effective devaluation narrowime vester- day to 38.5 oer cent ftom 38.8 per cent (since December 1971). Some clues to the cost of bringing the pound's value back from $1.70 to its present level will be available in today s reserve fieures. Since he Government announced its o,3UO millions credit facility on June 7, the authorities have been reluctant to show their hand as far as intervention in aetence of the oound ' is- concerned. However, dealers have consistently reported signs of official intervention in the market and yesterday the figure doing the rounds was of the order of. $300 millions. New jco&Lseams of 350M tons Coal reserves,, estimated at 350 million to-js the energy equivalent of the .oil contained i, r ,i- c o.u m the North Sea's-Forties field have been confirmed by the latest series of exploratory hnpohnlo.: flrlllorl hv the -National Coal Board in its East Midlands region. . The coalfield is an extension of Nottingham, next door to the 40 square miles enclosed by iouingnam, uranmuui, ouu-. Melton Mowbray. The NCB has been exploring; in the area since 1972-3 and does not expect to complete its survey for another 18 months. But samples obtained by the first 30 boreholes : have confirmed the existence of - two. Leech shares sale flops The William' Leech (Builders) offer "for sale has flopped with 57.5 per cent of the 4.7 millions shares offered at 64p each left with the underwriters. Applications were received for 1,995,850 shares or 32.5 per cent -of those offered. The result, which is ' disappointing for Leech, a rather conservative housebuilder working mainly in the North and Scotland, is an indication -of the stock market's lack of interest In the new issue scene. ' ' .figures on which calculations were based were high. ' Even with yesterday's softened rates, 'brokers specialising in university and armed services business will find a big fall in their incomes. Figures from the Life Offices Association show that the average commission for a whole of life policy for a male of 20 amounts to 272. With the new system it .will fall to f 00. The figure, under the LOA's original plans would have been 60, but even so. the unproved terms may still make, it difficult. for many brokers specialising in -this type of business to survive unless they transfer business to companies outside, the LOA. Worries that that might happen wero responsible for 'the original opposition from Sun Life and , Friends' Provident, The biggest, outsider is Equity and Law. When the LOA announced its original .change. Equity and Law came ud with nlans to. civ e brokers 125 per cent of the first year's 'premium on whole of life . business. s vainerises eaiers exraeci abead of the -release erf currency today. the ouud at one stage showed a gain of just uiider a Intervention at "this level would not necessarily show lip in the actual published figures for June because of expected inflows. These include a $200 millions Euromarket loa.n from Iran; a 8200 millions loan for the National "Water Council from the Post Office,., and inflows coming .in- uftder.' the exchange cover scheme for the public - sector. The-..$S00 millions five-year loan announced this week for the National Water Council is' unMiely to emerge w the reserve figures : Because of the - low level which the. reserves hit at the end of. sucy socKwroae. tae sa.wu certain tnai the Dame nas pegun to. use the staridby facility. Last word, from the Chancellor, Mr. Denis" Healey, on , the subject was on June 22 when he told the Commons it had. not been used. However, the bank has been active on a - minor scale since then. ... Much of .the bank's . activity over the last three weeks has in fact been . centred on the forward markets where . at . ohe stage Eurosterling interest rates were driven to an exceptionally high level But rates have "been dropping 'sharply this vieek, suggesting that there may have been purchases of stepliftg to repay Eurosterling loans that had-been used to finance short positions. majors -coal": seams between 1,300ft. and 2,100ft. below the icea? ' B 1 ,t0 They lie beneath rural farm- lanrt and anv mlr,.. opened in the future would be deep-sunk lather than 'open- CaSt. A feasibility study Of the field has now been sent to all the local authorities suggesting alternative working plans. But NCB spokesmen emphasised yesterday there were no plans at present to exploit Hie field. The 350 million tons ' have been generally, known for. many years and form part of the overall Teserve flsu're already published, which Sir Derek Ezra. NCB s chairman, has said is enough to keep Britain - sup plied tor auu years. Britain's energy ' require ments should, be planned on a 30-year basis and safeguarded from political interference, according to the vice-chancellor of Strathcfyde University, Sir Samuel Curran. Writing in Coal and Energy Quarterly, the wUds journal, he criticises the present delay in making major policy decisions over the future of . tne nuclear power programme, Extracts from the Annual Statement by the Chairman, - Mr. A..E. Andrews B LIIIBIICU .sP Rapid fafiaScrt in our costs through the WhoTsrango of materials, electricity, fuel and oUier'expehseshas-reducQdprofitsfortheyearby13S,083,from ' 639,040la5tyear.to 503,957 thlsyaar.Wohave ' nevflrtheiessrecommendedthatthefiriaJ Dividend faa ' increased by the maximum allowed from 12.096to 13.6132. Exportsalesfortheyearincr0asedto8r,768as against 802,216 astyear. In viewof the hlghl competitive situation obtaining in our products ' throughout the Worfd, the Boardconsidersthattfiia mcreaseissatisfactory. ' ' - ' For a copy of the Report & Accounts containing tho ' . statement by the.Cliairman, Mr. A. H, Andrews, write to 11 1 8 H -Platignwm House,Six Hilts ts fiaures shrtwinir RrrfraWs hones of earlv aovArnrmfefit buys P Barr ANOTHER dogtrack deal by leisure group, Ladbrokes, was announced yesterday It puis a 600,000 prfce tag. on the Perry Ban stadium to Birmingham. '-- . Wans have been agreed on a 7cash offer from Ladbrokes for the track, and the deal has the backing of the Perjy Bur. directors and more than 25 per cent of the shares. ! In March this year, ladbrokes made a successful bid for control oir Totallsatojs and .Greyhound Holdings, which has six greyhound tracks, including, those at Wolverhampton and Wlllen-hall. A statement yesterday said the Perry Barr takeover would consolidate the Midlands greyhound operations of- Totallsators, Reserves rie : JAPAN'S external reserves rose last month to their Iiigh- ; est level since May 1973, the-Finance Ministry announced,' The increase of $187 millions inroirgJiiiftjK reserveavttt th end ef the month to $15,397-mllltons. Trip :pays off MR BOBEBT Christie, leader . of an exploratory trade mission from Merseyside Cham-, ber of Commerce and Indus try said their week-long visit to , the Philippines had been successful. " The opportunities for trading are obvious and it is for us to do our . best to foster trade relations with the Philippines," he said." . Whatlings rise, CIVIL ENGINEERS and building contractors What-' lings secured a pretax profit rise from 25,000, to 88,000 In the half year to-March 31. A maximum ' permitted 0J291562p a share final dividend payment- is promised, G. H. Downing PROFIT before tax at G. H. Downing and. Company, the Newcastle based building materials, refractories,: add electrical engineering group, climbed to 1,502,130 from 1,000,578 in the year to March 31. A final dividend of 5.2SSGSp net makes a total of 9.2S96SP against 8.54642p. I Trio Secretary MENTMOBE MAKUFflP.THRISirS I CO. LIMITED . WayiStavenagetHerteSGI 2AY

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