Business and City in Brief

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Sara Lee to shed 10,000 employees

Sara Lee is to take an after-tax charge of dollars 495m, or dollars 1.03 per share, against its fourth-quarter results as part of a restructuring that will cut 10,000 of its worldwide workforce of 138,000.

The jobs will go from its hosiery divisions in the US and Europe, saving an estimated dollars 250m a year by 1998.

Dutch sell-off

Shares in KPN, the Dutch state post and telephone company, have been priced at 49.75 guilders, valuing the company at 23bn guilders ( pounds 8.5bn). The government is to float 30 per cent of the shares on the Amsterdam stock exchange and on the New York Seaq, raising 6.9bn guilders and making KPN the largest stock listed in Amsterdam in terms of market capitalisation.

Receivers in at Resort

Resort Hotels has gone into receivership after making a pounds 71m loss last year. The Serious Fraud Office is investigating the conduct of the management before Resort's shares were suspended on 16 July 1993. The receivers, from Ernst & Young, say that most of Resort's assets, which included more than 50 hotels and restaurants, have already been sold.

BAe in talks

British Aerospace admitted it was talking to Fokker about taking a stake in the aircraft maker but said no decisions had been made. BAe's Avro regional jet division was reported to have signed a dollars 230m contract to sell planes to Colombia.

Smoke war

Philip Morris (Australia) has started legal action to have the country's Commonwealth Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act declared invalid, claiming it imposes a range of restrictions beyond advertising.

McKechnie purchase

McKechnie, the plastics group, is to buy Plastic Engineers (Holdings), a plastic components manufacturer for the information technology industry, for pounds 5.1m.

Bullion call

Rupert Pennant-Rea, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, has called for the 14 London market-makers in bullion to publish turnover data.

Net loss

Union des Assurances de Paris, insurer of the French Tennis Federation, is to pay Fr2.5m ( pounds 312,000) to disappointed spectators at Saturday's French Open women's final, which was washed out by rain.

Telephone Poles

(First Edition)

The Polish government is to invite bids for the country's second cellular telephone network.

Unilever deal

(First Edition)

Unilever has agreed to buy two state-owned margarine factories form kazakhstan for about dollars 60m. The factories are in Alma Ata, the capital, and Karaganda, the second largest city.


New York: A 20-point rally in shares prices ran out of steam, leaving the Dow Jones Average 3.70 lower at 3,768.52 by the close.

Tokyo: Futures-linked selling took the Nikkei average down 227.54 in thin trade to 20,726.65.

Hong Kong: Shares came off their highs near the close, leaving the Hang Seng index 148.76 points ahead at 9,383.03.

Sydney: Prices closed broadly lower, with the All Ordinaries index 6.1 points off at 2,072.5.

Bombay: Motor and computer shares were in the limelight as the index rose 56.29 to 4,109.52.

Johannesburg: A decline in the gold price drove the market lower, with the overall index 38 points adrift at 6,539.

Paris: Consolidating last week's gains amid some concern over interest rates, the CAC-40 index eased 4.59 points to 2,037.15.

Frankfurt: Lacklustre trade, underpinned by a stronger bond market, lifted the DAX index 14.68 points to 2,163.07.

Zurich: Marked gains by Roche and Nestle helped the Swiss Performance Index to record a 28.85-point gain at 1,821.03.

London: Report, page 28.