Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
PUBLIC SECTOR SHRINKS

The number of jobs in the public sector in the UK has fallen by nearly 1.5 million, from more than 29 per cent in mid-1983 to less than 22 per cent 10 years later. During the same period, jobs in the private sector rose from 16.6 to nearly 19.2 million.

PARAMOUNT PEAK

The dollars 10bn takeover battle for Paramount reaches a critical stage today with Viacom and QVC Network having a last chance to increase their bids. Wall Street considered Viacom's offer, made in mid-January, the better bid.

CELSIS RIGHTS

Celsis International, the medical diagnostics company that floated last June, will collaborate with Merck, the US pharmaceutical group, to develop a faster test for the sterility of antibiotics, cutting by 11 days the time it takes to manufacture them.

PATHFINDER FOR TRING

Tring, publisher of budget CDs and cassettes, published its pathfinder prospectus with a forecast of pre-tax profits of pounds 5.1m for the year to 31 March 1994. This compares with pounds 3.3m the previous year. Tring's products are sold mainly through outlets such as supermarkets and petrol stations.

EXECUTIVES OF STEEL

John Bond, Bryan Sanderson and Richard Turner have been appointed non-executive directors of British Steel. Mr Bond, 52, is group chief executive of HSBC, while Mr Sanderson, 53, is a managing director of British Petroleum and chief of BP Chemicals. Mr Turner, 51, is group marketing director of Rolls-Royce. Sir Ronald Halstead, Lord Gregson and Alan Wheatley retire in July.

BT CUTS CALL COST

BT will cut the cost tomorrow of a standard-rate call to Australia and New Zealand to 70p a minute and a cheap-rate call to 60p a minute. The change will mean a five-minute cheap-rate call falls from pounds 3.36 to pounds 2.92 - a cut of about 13 per cent.

STATIONERY LOSSES

John Dickinson Stationery, which makes Basildon Bond paper, is to lose 500 jobs over the next year and said 300 will go over the next three months at its factory in Apsley, Hertfordshire.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Hopes of lower inflation pushed shares into record territory for the third session. The Dow Jones Average ended up 32.93 at 3,978.36.

TOKYO: Expecting early introduction of the economic stimulus package, investors sent the Nikkei average soaring 1,471.24 points (7.8 per cent) to 20,229.12.

HONG KONG: Lower prices attracted both domestic and Japanese investors. The Hang Seng gained 109.19 points to 11,487.02.

SYDNEY: The All Ordinaries index surged to a five-year high, adding 50.9 points to 2,310.8.

BOMBAY: Affected by problems in the Ahmedabad market, the index fell 51.11 to 4,002.84.

JOHANNESBURG: Sentiment rose on the back of strong performances in other markets, taking the index up 29 points to 4,754.

PARIS: The CAC-40 index attained a record closing high of 2,334.36, a gain of 21.19 points.

FRANKFURT: BMW led shares higher. The DAX closed at its session high of 2,177.45, up 43.98.

ZURICH: Still scaling new peaks, the Swiss Performance Index put on 20.81 to 2,007.43 on hopes of a German interest rate cut.

LONDON: Report, page 26.

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