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US AIRLINES URGE BA INVESTIGATION

The three largest US airLines, Delta, United and American, called for a public investigation of British Airways' dollars 300m acquisition of a near-20 per cent stake in USAir.

In a petition filed with the US Department of Transport, the airlines said the deal was a 'repackaged version' of a previous BA bid for USAir.

STEEL OPTIMISM

The crisis in the European steel industry will begin to ease in the second half of 1993, so that steelmakers will see better results in 1994, a steel expert from the German RWI economic research institute said.

HEALTH DEAL

BOC Health Care has paid dollars 72.5m ( pounds 47.7m) to Du Pont Merck Pharmaceutical for assets and supply agreements relating to Brevibloc, a short-acting intravenous beta-blocker. The deal covers the US, Canada and Europe.

KUWAITI GAG

Kuwait banned publication without prior permission of media reports about allegations of fraud at state-owned investment and shipping firms. Mohammad Abdullah al-Banai, Attorney-General, said it affected reports about suspected fraud at Kuwait Oil Tanker Co and the London-based Kuwait Investment Office.

MORE AIRBORNE

UK airports handled 11 per cent more passengers in 1992 than in 1991 and aircraft movements rose by 5 per cent, according to preliminary figures from the Civil Aviation Authority.

SMALL FIRMS' PLEA

The Forum of Private Business meets the Chancellor this morning to present the findings of a survey of 20,600 members. It is claimed to show that targeted, low-cost aid for small firms in the Budget could help them to exceed the million jobs a year that were created during the 1980s.

ORDERS DOWN

Eastern German industry orders fell an unadjusted 8.5 per cent in November from October and were down 11.3 per cent year-on-year, the Economics Ministry said.

IBM CLAIM

International Business Machines is suing Kyocera Corporation for 18.7bn yen ( pounds 103m) for reproducing and distributing a personal computer basic input-output system that IBM claims it developed.

33,000 POUNDS 'STOLEN'

Laurence Gerrard, 54, owner of Gerrards, a London accountancy firm, siphoned off pounds 33,000 belonging to five bankrupt companies, Harrow Crown Court heard yesterday. Mr Gerrard denies the charges. The hearing continues.

GAS DISCOVERY

(First Edition)

The Dutch oil and gas exploration company Nederlandse Aardoliemaatschappij BV (NAM) said it had discovered an on-shore gas field containing at least 20 billion cubic metres of gas. The field, at Anjum in the northern province of Friesland, id the biggest Dutch find for 20 years, NAM said.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Shares continued to benefit from expectations of a strengthening economy. The Dow Jones average rose 22.15 points to end at 3,332.18.

TOKYO: Stocks ended modestly firmer in sleepy trade. The Nikkei average added 109.86 points to close at 17,133.64.

HONG KONG: Political worries caused the slide to continue. The Hang Seng index dropped 53.62 points to 5,697.78.

SYDNEY: Trading described by one broker as 'a non-event' ended with the All Ordinaries index just 0.9 firmer at 1,529.1.

JOHANNESBURG: A late recovery reversed early losses. Gold shares closed mixed on a slightly weaker bullion price.

FRANKFURT: Supported by the dollar's strength and firmer bond prices, the DAX index gained 13.31 points to 1,585.16.

PARIS: The CAC-40 index rose 13.69 points to 1,785.9.

MILAN: Small overall gains were made despite political and currency uncertainty. The MIB edged up 0.09 per cent to 1,076.

LONDON: Report, page 23.

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