City&FinanceBriefing 34 Tuesday, 22 September 2009 London Lite COLLECT ALL 3 TOKENS TO CLAIM! NO. 1773/00266 DAY 1 TOKEN FREE GUINNESS 4-PACK 1 TOKEN COLLECT ALL3TOKENS 1 OF 3 FREEGUINNESS 4-PACK Inbrief Builders fined 130 million for price-fix scamsSEVERAL top building firms received fines running into millions of pounds today, after being found guilty of brazen scams to rip off the taxpayer and private developers. They include Britains leading construction firm Balfour Beatty and Kier, the company that it is building the new Supreme Court opposite the House of Parliament. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) fined 103 firms a total of 129.5 million for colluding to force up prices paid to build hospitals, schools, universities and housing. It found they had illegally rigged 199 ten- ders from 2000 to 2006 on projects worth over 200 million. The fines would have been greater but for the majority -- 86 of the 103 -- confessing their guilt. Kier got the highest fine, of 17.8 million. Balfour Beattys penalty of 5.1 million fol- lows a string of controversies for the con- struction giant including being part of the failed Metronet Underground consortium, being fined by the Serious Fraud Office for bribery in Egypt and as the rail contractor involved in the fatal Hatfield rain derailment. The OFT is allowing firms to pay the fines over three years because of the recession. BY ROBERT LEA Rents are on the rise in booming West end Booming business in the West End has pushed retail rents higher this year despite the global recession which has battered many of the worlds most prestigious shopping streets. Property agent Cushman & Wakefield today said retail rents have risen by 6.9% on new Bond Street and 2.9% on oxford Street this year, although they fell 4.3% in Covent garden. it compared with falls of between 6% and 13% on other main shopping streets in the UK, a slump of 8.1% on Fifth Avenue in new York, and 15.1% on Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. Rents were unchanged on the Champs- Elyses in Paris and up 1.5% on the Via montenapoleone in milan. Peter mace, head of central London retail at Cushman & Wakefield, said: Despite the downturn, Londons West End continues to perform well with limited availability in major thoroughfares such as oxford Street, Regent Street and new Bond Street . The strong trading performance of the West End, caused primarily by tourists capitalising on the weak pound, has helped boost demand for representation in the capital. The signs are therefore encouraging for 2010. John Strachan, global head of retail at Cushman & Wakefield, said: The last 12 months have been one of the most difficult periods ever for the retail sector with consumer spending and retail sales down in many markets. Jobless a worry for JD Sports KEVIN the teenager is still splashing out, but rising unemployment among the young is a worry for his favourite shopping group, JD Sports Fashion. The retailer, which sells trainers, hoodies and caps to 13-25-year-olds at its JD, Size, Banks and Scotts stores, posted a 14.5% jump in pre-tax profits to 14.2 million for the six months to 1 August. We have to be aware of the economy: footfall is down, executive chairman Peter Cowgill said. Australia Dollars 1.7743 Canada Dollars 1.6518 Denmark Kroner 7.8026 Eurozone Euro 1.0517 Hong Kong Dollars 11.8800 Japan Yen 141.7200 New Zealand Dollars 2.1363 South Africa Rand 11.3100 Sweden Kronor 10.6600 Switzerland Francs 1.5915 UAE Dirham 5.5674 United States Dollars 1.5426 TouriST raTeS UP 51.12 at 5185.48 fTSe 100 Dow JoneS nikkei -$ DOWN 41.34 at 9778.86 CLOSED for holiday UP 0.71c at $1.6287 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit thisismoney.co.uk * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. not all stocks are available Chime rings up essentially bid l Chime Communications, the advertising and public relations group, today ended weeks of speculation by announcing an 18.23 million takeover bid for sports marketing specialist essentially. Chimes 8p-per-share offer for the company is more than double its closing price on the last business day before talks were announced. Rob the builder: the companies rigged tenders on 199 projects iTV may ditch regional news l BroadCaster itV may no longer have to provide regional news after media regulator ofcom said today that the cost of paying for its licence will soon outweigh the benefits. ofcom said Channel 3 regional network licences -- which have public service requirements such as providing regional news -- could have a 38 million to 64 million deficit by 2012. recession slows fall in cig sales l CiGarette maker imperial tobacco said today the recession has slowed the decline in the amount of duty-paid cigarettes it sold in the UK to 1% over the last 12 months. that is half the long- term annual rates of decline of 2%. imperial says this is because fewer smokers are going abroad to buy duty-free or cheaper cigarettes. kraft aiming to fend off panel l KraFt moved today to try to head off the request that it should put up or shut up in its 10.2 billion bid for Cadbury. the British chocolate maker has asked the takeover Panel to require Kraft to either formalise its offer or back off for at least six months. however, sources close to the Us food giant maintained it was far too early in the bidding process.