Business and City in Brief

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Mirror pensions agreement near

Trustees of the Mirror Group pension funds are poised to agree a pounds 30m settlement with Invesco MIM, Lehman Brothers and Capel-Cure Myers, taking their total settlements to more than pounds 75m. The deal is lower than expected because a US court decision weakened the trustees' case that the firms should have blown the whistle on Maxwell.

Small firms lead

Small companies are leading the economy to recovery with output growth over the past four months at its fastest rate in five years, the Confederation of British Industry says today. However, it is cautious about their ability to maintain the trend after higher taxes in April.

Pilkington axes 195

Pilkington will axe 195 more jobs at its headquarters in St Helens by March next year in a reorganisation and cost-cutting exercise. The redundancies are in addition to 180 job cuts announced earlier this month. Separately, the closure this summer of the Paragon Petcare (UK) food canning factory near Lincoln will cost about 200 jobs.

Codelco losses double

Chile Copper Corporation, the world's leading producer, doubled to dollars 200m its estimated losses from irregular futures trades and said gold and silver contracts worth dollars 50m were involved, as well as copper.

China bans building

China has banned new construction projects this year in an attempt to control a building boom that is fuelling inflation.

Russian pledge

Russia's prime minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin, pledged there would be no return to a Soviet- style economy, but appeared to shut off any chance of financial aid by setting high inflation targets.

Dollars 2bn pipeline bid

British Gas, Broken Hill of Australia and Tenneco Gas of the US have formed a consortium to bid for contracts involving a dollars 2bn pipeline transporting Bolivian gas to Brazil, the Gazeta Mercantil said in Sao Paulo.

Building banned

(First Edition)

China has banned new construction projects this year in an attempt to control a building boom that is fuelling inflation and diverting money from key state projects.

Dial-a-video talks

(First Edition)

BT confirmed it was having talks with Pearson, LWT and Kingfisher to develop and provide a dial-a-video service that can be delivered down telephone lines. Analysts believe VoD could generate annual sales of pounds 1bn by the year 2000.

Factory closing

(First Edition)

About 200 jobs are to be axed with the closure this summer of the Paragon Petcare (UK) food canning factory near Lincoln.

TODAY

Economic trends (Nov), monthly digest of statistics (Jan) and annual supplement of definitions. Large British banking groups' monthly mortgage lending (end- Dec), farm incomes (1993), M0 (Jan, prov).

Interims: Barnato Exploration, Bimec Industries, Birkdale Gp (AMD), Churchbury Estates, EFM Smaller Cos Tst, Flagstone Hldgs, Haynes Publishing, Heritage, Lebowa Platinum Mines, New London, Potgietersrust Platinum, Richmond Oil & Gas, Rustenburg Platinum, TR Smaller Cos Inv Tst, Union Square, Wiggins Gp.

Finals: Brooke (Tool) Engineering, European Assets Tst, ML Laboratories, Motor World Gp.

TOMORROW

Advance energy statistics (Dec).

Interims: Adscene Gp, BAA (third quarter), Colefax & Fowler, Free State Development & Investment Corp.

Finals: Caldwell Investments.

WEDNESDAY

UK official reserves (Jan), overseas travel and tourism (Nov).

Interims: Bucknall Gp, First Spanish Inv Tst, Huntingdon Intl (first quarter), Johannesburg Consolidated Inv Co, TR City of London Tst.

Finals: Fyffes.

THURSDAY

Interims: Lazard High Income Tst, News International.

Finals: Fleming Amer Inv Tst.

FRIDAY

Full monetary statistics including bank and building society balance sheets (Dec), bill turnover (Dec), sterling commercial paper (Dec).

Interims: Birse Gp.

Finals: Heavitree Brewery.

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