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Lopez backed by VW board

The supervisory board of Volkswagen, the German car maker, gave full backing to its production chief Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, accused by his previous employer General Motors of industrial espionage, after an extraordinary meeting yesterday.

The board's chairman Klaus Liesen told a news conference: 'There were no findings that justified the accusations of industrial espionage.'

EBRD grant

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development approved an dollars 80m project financing facility to the KomiArcticOil joint venture in Russia. British Gas and Gulf Canada Resources are partners in KomiArcticOil with two Russian companies.

Argus referred The transfer to Trinity International of Argus Newspapers, a subsidiary of Argus Press, has been referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

Vauxhall cuts

Vauxhall Motors is extending production cuts at both UK plants because of a downturn in European sales. There will be no production at the Luton Cavalier plant and no night shift at the Ellesmere Port Astra factory in the week 16-20 August.

Beer accord

The US and Canada have reached agreement over US access to the Canadian beer market. The agreement will end discriminatory price and distribution practices against US beer throughout Canada and allow US brewers to sell their products directly to retailers in Ontario.

Body Shop ADRs

Body Shop International has established a sponsored American depositary receipt programme. Each ADR represents five ordinary shares.

Ladbroke appeals

Ladbroke has appealed to the European Court after the European Commission ruled that Parie Mutuel Urbain was allowed to hold a monopoly of off-track horse race betting in France.

Soda ash inquiry

The European Commission opened an anti-dumping inquiry into US soda ash imports into the Community. The Commission said it was acting on a complaint from the European Chemical Industry Council.

Bank branch closure

Standard Chartered Bank is closing its Zurich branch and will concentrate its Swiss activities on private banking out of Geneva.

Swissair loss

Swissair's parent company's pre- tax loss excluding extraordinary items in the six months to June totalled Sfr125m compared with a Sfr116m loss a year earlier. Revenue rose 2 per cent to Sfr2.47bn. The airline said it saw no prospect of a turnaround in the second half.

New York: A positive reaction to US July employment data helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a close of 3,560.43, an advance of 11.46 points.

Tokyo: Political worries combined with a strong yen to force the Nikkei average down 67.7 to 20,357.94.

Hong Kong: Buying interest in newly-listed Chinese companies carried the Hang Seng index 89.23 points higher to 7,396.77.

Sydney: The plunge in the gold price damaged sentiment. The All Ordinaries lost 23.1 to 1,842.2

Johannesburg: In a confused, nervous market gold shares closed off their lows in thin trade but industrials also lost ground. The overall index dropped 49 points to 4,011.

Paris: Continuing its strong recovery, the CAC-40 index climbed 34.53 points to 2,149.83.

Frankfurt: Quiet trade saw the DAX add 8.97 points to 1,869.67 on the back of higher bond prices.

Zurich: Prices closed flat after a day of narrow-range trade. The SPI eased 0.21 of a point to 1,541.66.

Milan: Profit-taking in sectors such as telecommunications, which have recently risen sharply, later gave way to a rebound, enabling shares to close higher.

London: Report, page 17.

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