Business & City Summary

EC looks into Aer Lingus rescue

The European Commission has opened an inquiry into Irish government plans to rescue Aer Lingus, the beleaguered national airline. Ireland plans to inject Ir pounds 175m into Aer Lingus over three years so that the carrier can cut debts to about Ir pounds 102m by 1997. The Commission said it wanted guarantees that the aid would be used to cure Aer Lingus's ills and not to help it offer cheaper fares, notably on the busy Dublin-London route.

A final verdict could be reached by the end of the year, but may not be reached before February next year.

Bad advice claims

Thirty-nine investors received pounds 521,821 during the third quarter after submitting claims, based on bad and negligent advice, to the consumer arbitration scheme operated by Fimbra. More than half the amount awarded was paid to 13 home income plan clients. Fimbra fined 15 firms of financial advisers pounds 22,250 in the third quarter, and revoked the authorisation of 55 firms.

Cadbury wins A&W

Cadbury Schweppes, the food and drinks company, has won control of the root beer maker A&W Brands, for which it made a pounds 217m bid last month.

Sydney Games excess

The cost of staging the Olympic Games in Sydney will be Adollars 2bn ( pounds 885m) - double the budget submitted to the International Olympic Committee, according to John Fahey, the Premier of New South Wales. Mr Fahey promptly came under fire from opposition politicians, who said the city had been misled.

Ciba steady

Ciba-Geigy AG said consolidated sales in the nine months to September totalled Sfr17.082bn, unchanged from a year earlier. Ciba said it expected a limited increase in consolidated net profit compared with 1992.

Matsushita rebuffed

The European Court of Justice has rejected a claim by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co against European Community anti-dumping duties on compact disc players imported from Japan. Matsushita had said the EC was wrong to consider the whole group as a single economic entity and that the duties should take account of different marketing, sales and production units.

Chocolate support

A Dutch group that markets a coffee brand guaranteeing a fair price to Third World farmers has extended the principle to chocolate. The Max Havelaar foundation said the project, which guarantees African and Latin American farmers dollars 1,595 per tonne for cocoa compared with market prices of about dollars 1,170, had won support in the Netherlands. In Britain, sold under the name Cafedirect, it has captured 4 per cent of the coffee market.

World Markets

New York: The big telecommunications deal helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average to rise 10.06 points to close at 3,603.19.

Tokyo: After sinking below 20,000 in light trade, the Nikkei average pulled back to 20,038.4, a deficit of 98.91 points.

Hong Kong: Buying by US and Japanese institutions lifted the Hang Seng 39.31 to 8,292.96.

Sydney: The firmer gold price attracted support as the All Ordinaries added 10.6 to 2,038.6.

Bombay: Trading was suspended as brokers decided on an indefinite strike over delay in settling the 'tainted shares' issue.

Johannesburg: Gold share gains of almost 5 per cent, with industrials also strong, gave the overall index a 30-point gain to 3,937.

Frankfurt: Late profit-taking took shares off highs. The DAX ended 2.9 firmer at 2,001.51.

Paris: The CAC-40 index edged up 0.43 of a point to 2,127.28.

Milan: Prices closed lower as investors sold to raise cash to take up Fiat's rights issue.

London: Report, page 36.

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