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Rover 600 to be launched today

The Rover 600, the car that replaces the Montego and completes the company's three-year model renewal programme, goes on sale today. Developed in partnership with Honda of Japan, the four-door saloon is targeted at the top end of the medium car sector and is seen as a crucial element in Rover's move into niche markets.

Rover has spent pounds 200m developing the 600 and expects to produce 50,000 a year at its Cowley works in Oxford, of which at least half will be exported.

DTI clears three deals

The Department of Trade and Industry cleared the proposed acquisition of Clifford Foods by Unigate, the food and distribution group, which has made an agreed bid valued at pounds 50.4m. The DTI also decided not to refer Capital Radio's bid for Midlands Radio to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and said it had approved Tarmac's proposed acquisition of PSA Projects, the former government building division.

Open skies target set

Britain and the US have set themselves a target of a year to liberalise air services across the Atlantic. John MacGregor, Secretary of State for Transport, and Federico Pena, his opposite number, agreed the timetable yesterday and instructed officials to begin negotiations next month.

NHL refinancing

National Home Loans, the mortgage lender, completed the refinancing of its debt after its proposals won the backing of bondholders. Jonathan Perry, chairman, envisages no difficulty in making substantial repayments on schedule over the next three years.

Opec tax fears

The oil revenues of Opec nations will be cut by dollars 75bn over the next 12 years if the European Community imposes a new energy tax, according to a report by the Arab League. It said production would be 3 million barrels a day lower than expected by the year 2005 if the tax were introduced.

GPA debt repaid

Transportes Ejecutivos Aereos (Taesa), Mexico's third-biggest airline, said it had paid an dollars 8m debt to the Irish leasing group GPA with the proceeds of five jets it sold to Venezuela's Avensa on 1 April. Taesa has also agreed to lease six planes from GPA.

Toyota sales improve

Toyota Motor of Japan said production and sales of motor vehicles in March rose for the first time in six months, while Nissan Motor announced further declines. Toyota's domestic sales in March rose 0.7 per cent from a year earlier to 292,534 units. Nissan's sales fell 1.8 per cent to 165,587.

Rise for GRE boss

Sid Hopkins, chief executive of Guardian Royal Exchange, was paid pounds 268,266 last year, a rise of pounds 12,490 (or 4.9 per cent) on 1991. He was also granted 400,000 options.

350 jobs created

A pounds 4.5m satellite dish assembly plant starting pilot production this summer at Pace Micro Technology in Bradford, West Yorkshire, will create 350 jobs.

Court quashes EC fines

The European Court of Justice cancelled most of the fines imposed by the European Commission at the end of 1984 on a 'paper pulp cartel' consisting mainly of US, Canadian and Finnish firms. The court ordered the Commission to refund fines totalling ecu4m (pounds 3.17m) and to pay two thirds of the costs. World Markets

New York: Fears about US inflation and disappointing results from Chrysler hit prices. By the close, the Dow Jones average was down 11.62 points at 3,466.99.

Tokyo: Prices fell following the sharp rise of the yen against the dollar. The Nikkei average gave up 185.52 points to 20,112.34.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index recouped most early losses to end 17 points lower at 6,680.15.

Sydney: Industrials were weaker but late buying interest in gold stocks held the loss on the All Ordinaries to 6.8, closing at 1,696.4.

Bombay: In a shortened session the index lost 38.63 to 2,261.15.

Johannesburg: Despite gains by gold stocks the overall index eased five points to 3,558 in slow trade.

Paris: Lower interest rates were ignored as the CAC-40 index fell 17.78 points to 1,968.91.

Frankfurt: Active trade boosted by hopes of an interest rate cut took the DAX index up 14.45 to 1,693.3.

Istanbul: Panic selling triggered by political worries pulled the index down 767.23 (10.45 per cent) from Friday's record to 6,574.14.