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Rexrodt optimistic on VW agreement

Gunter Rexrodt, the German economy minister, said he saw 'a good chance of an agreement' in the dispute between General Motors and Volkswagen.

He was speaking after an hour-long meeting with Ferdinand Piech, the VW chairman, aimed at defusing the dispute that flared after Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, former GM chief of purchasing, joined VW on 16 March. Mr Rexrodt is due to meet both sides again next week.

French GDP declines

France's gross domestic product fell a revised 0.7 per cent in the first quarter of 1993 after a 0.3 per cent fall in the final quarter of last year, according to Insee, the national statistics institute. It also reported a 35.8 per cent decline in the number of French company failures in June to a seasonally adjusted 5,128 from 7,987 in May.

PowerGen deal near

A consortium led by PowerGen and NRG Energy, based in the US, is nearing agreement to buy Mitteldeutsche Braunkohle, an eastern German lignite mining company, for a reported dollars 400m.

Risk tax planned

Profits and losses on a range of financial instruments used by companies for managing interest rate risk would be taxed as income under proposals contained in an Inland Revenue consultative document.

US deficit falls

The US deficit for July fell to dollars 39.57bn, down from dollars 43.15bn a year earlier. Revenue was dollars 80.6bn and spending dollars 120.2bn.

Cannon cuts debt

Cannon Street Investments, the troubled mini-conglomerate, said it cut debt by pounds 4.1m with the sale of its Georgian House Restaurant and Hotel subsidiary to William Hargreaves.

Multiserv go-ahead

The Office of Fair Trading approved the acquisition of Multiserv International, the metal reclamation and specialised steel mill services company based in London, by Harsco Corporation of the US.

dollars 56m Sabena pay cut

Staff of Sabena, the Belgian state- owned airline, agreed to a wage cut of dollars 56m and Pierre Godfroid, chief executive officer, withdrew a threat to resign. The reductions and other savings are part of a dollars 423m three- year restructuring plan.

E German orders up

Eastern German industrial orders rose 21 per cent in June from May and were up 17.9 per cent from a year earlier.

OFT names Tyler

Tyler Environmental Services, a subsidiary of AAH Holdings, was named as one of 11 companies involved in an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading into a secret price-rigging and market-sharing agreement involving grounds maintenance firms.

Premium growth falls

Premium growth at german insurance companies eased to barely 10 per cent in 1992 from 13.3 per cent the previous year, while pressure from damage claims increased noticeably, the GDV German insurance industry association said.

World Markets

New York: Profit takers kept Wall Street on the defensive for most of the day, but blue chips managed to modestly extend their record streak in the last few minutes. The Dow Jones Industrial average closed up 3.35 at 3,615.48.

Tokyo: Weakness in financial shares took its toll on the Nikkei Average, adrift 80.21 at 20,607.26.

Hong Kong: Disappointing company results ended the Hang Seng index's record-breaking run as profit-taking knocked it back 59.90 to 7,545.36.

Johannesburg: A late revival in the bullion price dragged gold shares off their lows, but the index lost 28 to 1,771.

Milan: The MIB share index closed 0.66 lower at 1,350 after recovering losses earlier in the day.

Frankfurt: Options expiries put a damper on the market and the DAX index shed 16.30 to 1,922.68.

Zurich: Bank shares eased after earlier good gains, but demand for blue chips remained strong. The SPI index shaded 3.93 to 1,565.45.

Paris: Foreign investors took profits ahead of settlement day on Tuesday as hopes dimmed of deep cuts in interest rates. The CAC-40 index fell 11 to 2,128.20.

London: Report, page 17.

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