Business and City in Brief

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Colson earns pounds 692,000

Dan Colson, the Telegraph's vice chairman, earned pounds 692,000 last year, partly thanks to a pounds 480,000 payment in respect of his efforts in relation to the acquisition and restructuring of John Fairfax, the Australian newspaper group in which the company now has a 25 per cent stake.

The Telegraph's chairman, Conrad Black, earned pounds 237,000, up from pounds 148,000 a year before. Hollinger, his Canadian holding company, also received pounds 1m in fees under a services agreement with the Telegraph.

Sainsbury links

J Sainsbury is forming an alliance with three European food retailers to develop opportunities in distribution, marketing, trading and information technology in Europe. The partners are Esselunga of Italy, Docks de France and the Belgian group, Delhaize.

Company law review

The Law Commission is launching a wide-ranging review of company law as part of the Government's drive to cut red tape. The commission will study proposals by a DTI working group to produce a simplified corporate framework for small owner-managed business, and reforms of the Companies Act 1985.

Russian slump

Russia announced another slump in industrial output, which fell by a record 27.1 per cent in February compared with the same month last year. Output fell 16.2 per cent last year after a fall of 18 per cent in 1992.

VW scrutiny

A small shareholder in Volkswagen is to call for an examination of the struggling car maker's accounting at the annual shareholders' meeting in June. Ulrich Steinharter, whose company owns less than one per cent of VW shares, said he will also mount a bid to deny VW's managing board chairman, Ferdinand Piech, and supervisory board chairman, Klaus Liesen, formal shareholder approval for their actions.

Dresdner protest

Dresdner Bank is to take further court action to protest against the confiscation of documents by tax inspectors last January, after the Supreme Court yesterday rejected a related complaint. Dresdner described the court's ruling as a partial decision that referred only to the bank's legal action against the raids, but not to its complaint about the confiscation of mail and banking documents.

Thames changes

Sir Robert Clarke has become chairman of Thames Water, with effect from 1 April. Sir Christopher Leaver, who took up the role of chairman between May 1993 and March 1994, will now become vice chairman.


New York: Shares paused after Tuesday's excitement. After falling into negative territory at midday the Dow Jones Average edged upwards to close 4.32 points higher at 3,679.73.

Tokyo: Late profit-taking curtailed the rise in the Nikkei 225 index to 133.53 at 19,696.74 after strong early gains.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index improved 204.40 to 9,234.31 on bargain-hunting and a rally in futures.

Bombay: The BSE index rose 33.53 to 3,845.68 on hopes of Indian mutual funds returning to the market.

Sydney: Overseas buying boosted the All Ordinaries index 34.1 points to 2,084.1.

Brussels: The easing in German repo rates nudged the BEL 20 index 2.02 higher at 1,468.08.

Frankfurt: Tuesday's strong gains on Wall Street lifted the DAX index 32.91 to 2,191.20.

Zurich: The SMI index moved 22.9 ahead to 2,830.2 with interest focused on the industrial and drug sectors.

Paris: The CAC-40 index rose 27.97 to 2,128.22, encouraged by early strength on Wall Street.

London: Report, page 34.