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The Independent Online
AIR FRANCE LOOKS FOR 2,500 JOB CUTS

Air France presented a new plan to cut heavy losses, but unions said they were unhappy with the package.

Christian Blanc, chairman, wants to shed 2,500 job cuts over two years instead of the 4,000 proposed by his predecessor, Bernard Attali, which provoked a bitter strike and Mr Attali's resignation. The latest proposals include higher-paid employees taking voluntary pay cuts which may be repaid by shares in the company in 1997, depending on the success of the changes.

TOBACCO FACTORY TO GO

Hanson plans to demolish the Imperial Tobacco factory in Bristol - once one of the largest cigarette-making plants in Europe - to make way for a retail and commercial leisure complex expected to attract 1,200 new jobs. The planned South Bristol Centre includes a 25-acre sports ground and will cost about pounds 35m.

BANK SACKS 20

CS First Boston is sacking up to 20 equity research, sales and trading executives in Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam and integrating these operations in London, where it may eventually take on more staff.

GLAXO AGREEMENT

Warner-Lambert and Glaxo Holdings signed an agreement jointly to develop and market over-the-counter versions of Zantac and other Glaxo drugs.

GOLDEN SHARE

France will retain a golden share in Elf Aquitaine to give it a right to veto asset sales if it believes national interests are threatened. The state will continue to hold between 10 and 15 per cent of Elf's capital after the oil firm is privatised next year.

PENSIONS PROTEST

The Confederation of British Industry complained that the Department of Social Security had given insufficient time for companies to make their comments on the Goode Report on pensions law reform. Comments on the 1,000-page report are supposed to be made by mid-January, leaving 'precious few effective days for meaningful discussions'.

LOSS TO LLOYD'S

Corporate Membership, a proposed investor in the Lloyd's insurance market, has abandoned its offer after the take-up of shares fell substantially short of the 25 per cent minimum.

PREMIUM FALL

Standard Life, the largest mutual life office, reported a 15 per cent drop in new annual premium income to pounds 195m in the year to 15 November, but single premiums rose 26 per cent to pounds 1.9bn.

GERMAN THEME PARK

Warner Brothers plans a dollars 200m movie amusement park and television and film studio complex near Dusseldorf, modelled on one opened in Brisbane in 1991.

MANX FERRY DEAL

(First Edition)

The board of the Isle of Man Steam packet Company has agreed to guarantee a level of passenger and RoRo freight services at about the present level in return for Government protection of the company's status as the sole provider of such services.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 23.76 points to a record high of 3,764.43 as weaker bond prices failed to deter investors.

TOKYO: Prices closed firmer but off their highs, with the Nikkei average 69.9 higher at 17,327.33.

HONG KONG: Recovering from early weakness, the Hang Seng index posted a new record high of 10,248.59, up 20.48 points.

SYDNEY: Strong gold stocks gave the All Ordinaries index a 9.6- point gain, closing at 2,094.5.

BOMBAY: Sharp falls in after- hours trading followed a ban on forward deals by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

JOHANNESBURG: Shares soared to new highs on the back of a rising gold price. The overall index advanced 80 points to 4,547.

FRANKFURT: Hope of a Gatt agreement helped the DAX index to climb 11.62 points to 2,172.75.

PARIS: The CAC-40 index eased 1.82 points to 2,196.31.

Milan: Prices closed higher on technical factors ahead of tomorrow's end of the account.

LONDON: Report, page 34.

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