Business and City in Brief

Hollinger trims Telegraph stake

Hollinger, the Canadian company controlled by Conrad Black, has cut its stake in the Telegraph by 1.49 per cent to 66.4 per cent. It has sold 2 million shares in the newspaper group, raising an estimated pounds 9m - Telegraph shares closed up 23p at 454p, a 12-month high.

The company said that the sale had been conducted in accordance with the group's 1992 prospectus. It had no intention of disposing of any further shares.

European steel deal

European Union industry ministers have approved a subsidy package for the steel industry, subject to final approval from Denmark, Britain and Germany. The move follows Britain's decision to drop a veto on a state-aid rescue plan for the Italian Ilva concern.

Wellcome US link

Wellcome signed a deal with Vertex Pharmaceuticals in the US to collaborate on the development of protease inhibitors for the treatment of HIV infection and Aids. Wellcome will pay Vertex up to dollars 42m in research support, and for achieving agreed development milestones. In exchange it will receive exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and market the inhibitors in the US, Europe and other countries outside the Far East.

Laporte disposal

Laporte, the chemicals group, has sold the powder coatings businesses it acquired when it took over Evode, the glue maker, for a total of pounds 15.7m. The group also announced that it was to buy Aztec Catalyst Company, North America's third-largest supplier of organic peroxides, from Phillips Petroleum.

Liffe record

The London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange hit the 100 million mark for contracts traded during a single year on Thursday. Its new annual record represents about pounds 94bn turnover and an increase of 41 per cent over 1992.

IBM Europe jobs lost

IBM Europe will shed 10,000 more jobs in 1994 as part of IBM's plans to eliminate 35,000 worldwide to stem losses. The cuts will come on top of 10,000 IBM Europe axed this year under a restructuring programme that began two years ago.

Touche ambition

The global parent of the British accountancy firm Touche Ross is planning to double the size of its Eastern Europe practice within the next three years.

QMH committee

Legal & General, Sun Life and the four other largest debenture holders in Queens Moat Houses are to head a steering committee to represent stockholders in restructuring negotiations. The trustees of the debentures have convened a meeting on 10 January to approve the committee.

Warburg purchase

(First Edition)

The securities house S G Warburg is buying the Swedish brokerage Hagglof & Ponsbach, one of the assets which came under control of the state when its parent Gota AB went into receivership. No price was given.

BHP advance

(First Edition)

Australia's biggest industrial company, BHP, reported a 27.5 per cent increase in net profit to Adollars 640m for the half year to 30 November.

World Markets

New York: A dividend increase and share split by General Electric helped the Dow Jones average 25.43 points higher to 3,741.57 by early afternoon.

Tokyo: Index-linked buying in subdued trade lifted the Nikkei average 262.63 points to 18,051.91.

Hong Kong: Foreign buyers drove the Hang Seng index up another 229.2 points to 10,568.86.

Sydney: Weakness in gold shares restricted gains on the All Ordinaries index, which ended 5.4 points to the good at 2,080.2.

Bombay: Trading was again suspended on the fourth day of the boycott by stockbrokers.

Johannesburg: Light profit-taking in gold stocks sent the overall index down 25 points to 4,610.

Paris: On hopes of lower interest rates in the new year the CAC-40 index added 36.18 to 2,196.44.

Frankfurt: In a quiet market ahead of options expiry the DAX index firmed 13.57 to 2,151.02.

Zurich: Strong demand for drug stocks helped the Swiss Performance Index to close at 1,816.58, a gain of 11.37 points.

London: Report, page 20.

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