City&FinanceBriefing London Lite Monday, 19 October 2009 39 Inbrief Newchief at last for Standard Life l ONE of the most closely watched succession battles for years ended today when Standard Life finally unveiled its next chief executive. After months of speculation and a global search for the right candidate, the insurer has gone for the most obvious insider. Finance director David Nish will succeed long-serving Sir Sandy Crombie as the top man in January. William Hill hit by freak results l BOOkmAkEr William Hill today said it suffered from the absence of Premier League draws and an unusual spate of horse-racing results as it posted a 3% fall in third-quarter revenue. Takings for the whole year are up by 3% on 2008. Chief executive ralph Topping said it had been an extraordinary August for sporting results. Diamonds start to shine again l DIAmONDS are beginning to regain their sparkle, according to AIm-listed miner Gem Diamonds. Gem, which supplies Bond Streets jewellers with some of their highest-carat diamonds from its mine in Lesotho, today said prices are starting to pick up, although they remain significantly lower than a year ago. Gem said demand from stores in the US is stabilising. JJB shareholder cutting its stake l ONE of JJB Sports biggest shareholders, activist investment fund Crystal Amber, today revealed it has sold more than half its stake in the troubled retailer ahead of taking up its rights to buy new shares at a much lower price in a 100 million rescue share issue. It sold 22 million shares at 32.6p. The new shares are being issued at 25p. Australia Dollars 1.6756 Canada Dollars 1.6034 Denmark Kroner 7.7324 Eurozone Euro 1.0418 Hong Kong Dollars 11.9600 Japan Yen 140.7800 New Zealand Dollars 2.0408 South Africa Rand 11.1300 Sweden Kronor 10.9100 Switzerland Francs 1.5782 UAE Dirham 5.6060 United States Dollars 1.5533 TouriST raTeS UP 44.86 at 5235.10 fTSe 100 DoW JoNeS Nikkei -$ DOWN 67.03 at 9995.91 DOWN 21.05 at 10,236.51 DOWN 0.77c at $1.6279 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. Not all stocks are available Natex bid battle revs up ShareS in train and coach company National express rebounded today as the row over a bid approach from arch-rival Stagecoach escalated. They crashed nearly 30% on Friday after the biggest shareholder, Spains Cosmen family, abandoned a 500p-a-share, 1.7 billion rescue takeover. But they were up 27.1p, or 8%, to 389p today after Stagecoach, which with private-equity house CVC was part of the Cosmen consortium, made a fresh approach. BAA fights forced sale of two London airports Airports operator BAA today launched an appeal against the Competition Commissions decision to force it to sell Gatwick, stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports. in March the watchdog told BAA to sell three of its seven UK airports because lack of competition in south-east England -- where BAA also operates Heathrow -- and in scotland was bad for passengers and airlines. But BAA will argue the report was unlawful on grounds of apparent bias and proportionality. it claims a member of the Commissions panel had links with an organisation interested in buying the airports which BAA is required to sell. BAA will also say the Commission did not consider the effect of the recession on the airports sales. At the start of this year it posted annual, pre-tax profits down 18.4% to 582 million as the downturn caused passenger numbers to fall. the case is expected to last three days, with a decision to come around two months later. Bit of a squeeze: but stores hope surge means a good Christmas Sales soar 25% as crowds flock to the West endWeST eND retailers have received a boost after shoppers sent sales figures soaring. Sales in Bond Street, Oxford Street and regent Street shot up by 25% from august to last month, according to figures released today. Septembers receipts were also up by 4.6% compared with the same month last year, and 3.5% above September 2007. retailers hailed the results as evidence of returning spending confidence after consum- ers tightened their belts during the recession. Stores will also be hoping the sales figures are a sign of a good Christmas period to come after a slow festive season last year, when many shops were forced to discount heavily in November and December. Last months figures reveal overseas visi- tors have boosted demand for luxury and mid-market fashions and accessories. Sally Scott, spokeswoman for Selfridges, said: Business is great. Customers are feeling confident again, and we have expe- rienced a good performance in September, boosted by the excitement of London Fashion Week which always gets people in the mood for shopping. BY FELIX ALLEN index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html