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The Independent Online
UNION VOTES TO END CARDIFF MAIL STRIKE

The two-week-old mail strike in Cardiff ended after 900 members of the Union of Communication Workers voted 556 to 154 to return to work.

The Wales Chamber of Commerce said many small businesses had faced bankrutpcy because of lost orders and cash held up in the post, and that it would take a month to assess the effects of the strike.

MERGER CHALLENGED

The Office of Fair Trading has been asked to refer the proposed pounds 32bn merger between Leeds Permanent and National & Provincial building societies to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. The Building Societies Members Association told the OFT the merger would restrict consumer choice.

DOLLARS 1.1BN FOOD DEAL

A group of investors led by Robert Bass, the US billionaire, and including a subsidiary of Union des Banques Suisses, acquired eight US food companies for dollars 1.1bn. The companies, with a combined annual turnover of dollars 2.1bn, produce foods ranging from bread and cakes to sweets and pickles, and include one bank, Metz Banking.

ON THE SCENT

A report on perfume prices will be handed to Department of Trade and Industry officials today by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, nine months after complaints that leading fragrance houses were maintaining prices at artificially high levels.

COFFEE CARTEL FORMED

Twenty African and Latin American coffee-producing countries will establish a cartel, the Association of Coffee Producing Countries, aimed at promoting and co-ordinating policies among member countries.

US HOUSING STARTS FALL

July housing starts in the US fell 2.7 per cent to 1.212 million units annualised, from 1.246 million in June.

AIRTOURS' DOLLARS 200M BUY

Airtours International Aviation of the UK placed a dollars 200m order with Boeing Commercial Airplane Group for two 767-300ER twin-jet aircraft.

DOLLARS 30M LUCAS CONTRACT

Lucas Sumitomo, a Lucas Industries unit, has won a dollars 30m-a-year contract from Ford Motor to supply front disc brakes for the 1994 Ford Taurus and Mercury Stable.

S&P BES SCHEME

Save & Prosper, the retail arm of Robert Fleming, will enter the business expansion scheme market with an index-related issue in association with Close Brothers.

883m POUNDS TRAIN ORDER

Siemens and Daimler-Benz transport divisions have won a DM2.2bn ( pounds 883m) order to build 60 inter-city express trains for the German Bundesbahn. The first deliveries should start by mid-1996 and be completed by the end of 1998.

GM PENSION SHORTFALL

(First Edition)

General Motors expects its world-wide unfunded pension liability to rise dollars 5bn to dollars 19bn by 31 December from the end od 1992. It blames the increase on lower interest rates.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: A resurgence by drug shares propelled the Dow Jones 7.83 points ahead to a record high of 3,586.98.

SINGAPORE: The 30-share Straits Times Industrial index closed at a record high of 1,928.34, up 5.45 points, spurred by late institutional buying.

HONG KONG: Blue chips led the Hang Seng to close at a record 7,528.79, up 39.30 points.

SYDNEY: Share prices closed sharply higher ahead of last night's budget. The All Ordinaries index closed up 14.4 points at 1,885.1.

TOKYO: The yen's strength discouraged investors. The Nikkei 225 index closed 59.51 points lower at 20,841.98.

JOHANNESBURG: Early strong gains were clipped. The overall index closed up 17 points at 4,007.

FRANKFURT: Shares recovered most of their early steep falls and the DAX index closed down 2.02 points at 1,910.17.

PARIS: French shares ended lower, but halved morning losses. The CAC-40 index was down 11.71 at 2,136.29.

MILAN: Italian prices closed sharply higher. The SIP index rose 104 points to 3,433.

LONDON: Report, page 24

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