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Roux testifies at Ward trial

Olivier Roux, former finance director of Guinness, yesterday insisted under cross-examination that a former Guinness director accused of stealing pounds 5.2m from the company told him an invoice submitted for that amount was for the payment of third parties.

Mr Roux is a principal prosecution witness in the trial of Thomas Ward, 53, who has pleaded not guilty to the theft of pounds 5.2m worth of Guinness property, false accounting, and dishonestly procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception. The trial continues today.

GPA waiver

The 24 leading creditor banks of the GPA aircraft leasing group agreed in principle at a meeting to extend a waiver of the company's banking covenants because negotiations about a refinancing have taken longer than expected. The original deadline runs out on 31 January. The rest of GPA's 100 creditor banks will be asked to confirm the extension.

Fed in India

A team from the US Federal Reserve Board is in India to investigate the alleged involvement of American banks in India's biggest financial scandal, thought to involve dollars 2.1bn of problem debts related to drug- money laundering.

Guinness row

The GMB union has accused Guinness of telling 'half- truths' over claims that the company intends to invest pounds 100m in its Scotch whisky operations. GMB said half of the money would be needed to meet closure costs, but Guinness said the cash was for investment and a pounds 125m charge on its results for 1992 would cover the costs.

Dollars 50m GKN buy

GKN, the automotive group, is to build a new plant for constant velocity driveshafts in North Carolina as part of a dollars 50m investment to increase US production capacity.

C&W go-ahead

The Department of Trade and Industry said it had approved Cable and Wireless's pounds 480m sale of a 20 per cent stake in its Mercury Communications unit to BCE of Canada.

Buyout boost

European Acquisition Capital, set up by Enskilda Securities, has raised ecu82.9m ( pounds 65m) to pursue buyout and buy-in opportunities in the UK, France and Germany. Ten investments, from pounds 10m to pounds 100m, are expected over the next three years.

Red-tape barrier

Regulations and red tape are likely to be the biggest barriers to trade in the EC now that tariffs have been lifted, according to 43 per cent of British exporters surveyed by Barclays.

World markets

New York: The Dow Jones Average eased 1.08 points to 3,263.56 in choppy trading, largely ignoring renewed allied attacks on Iraq.

Tokyo: Persistent selling lowered the Nikkei average 163.14 to 16,517.91.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index gained 107.48 to 5,778.74 on renewed optimism over Sino-British talks.

Sydney: Fears of US action against Iraq lopped 14.3 points off the the All Ordinaries index at 1,495.

Johannesburg: Selling pressure linked to the weak gold price pushed the overall index down six points to 3,402.

Madrid: The general index edged 0.95 higher to 220.06.

Milan: Foreign buying boosted the MIB index 1.71 per cent to 1,014.

Zurich: Blue chips eased on profit-taking, leaving the SMI index off 3.4 at 2,075.8.

Paris: A sharp fall in LMVH shares helped to drag the CAC- 40 index down 14.13 to 1,782.53.

London: Report, page 29.