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Westinghouse boss sacked

Westinghouse Electric became the latest troubled American conglomerate to dump its chief executive, sacking Paul Lego a week after declaring a dollars 1.18bn loss for its fourth quarter and naming Gary Clark, president of special operations, as interim successor.

Chief executives ousted from their posts in the past year include John Akers of IBM, Robert Stempel of GM, Kenneth Olsen of Digital, and James Robinson at American Express.

Westinghouse also said it planned to merge its Financial Services unit and its Credit Corp into the parent company. The units' boards approved the plan in principle yesterday, and it is expected to be completed within a few months.

Helicopters deal

British International Helicopters, part of the disgraced Robert Maxwell's private business empire, has been sold by its administrators to a management buyout team in a pounds 32.5m deal.

900 jobs created

Taxmaco-Polysindo, a textile group, is to create 900 jobs in Northern Ireland with the investment of pounds 95m in a micro-fibre technology plant in Antrim.

TSB reprieve

Bifu, the finance union, called off industrial action at TSB after the bank agreed to delay planned job cuts until 19 March and to seek volunteers for redundancy and redeployment to avoid compulsory cuts.

Focus on Reuters

Reuters yesterday launched Equity Focus, a challenge to Topic, the Stock Exchange's screen-based information service, in an effort to lift its small share of the pounds 40m market for equities information.

UB man resigns

Tom Garvin, chief executive officer of Keebler, United Biscuits' US snacks subsidiary, is to resign. He will be replaced by Brian Chadbourne, head of McVitie's in the UK since 1989.

Rand hopes dim

The South African Reserve Bank said the recent widening of the financial rand's discount to the commercial rand had scotched hopes of an imminent dismantling of the two-tier exchange rate system.

Superjumbo plan

British Aerospace is joining a large international consortium to look at the feasibility of building a new generation of superjumbos that would seat up to 800 passengers.

Airlines talk

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is reported to be holding informal talks with Swissair, Scandinavian Airline Systems and Austrian Airlines about forming a European alliance.

World Markets

New York: A flurry of futures- related selling erased early gains, and by the close the Dow Jones average was down 7.56 points at 3,291.39.

Tokyo: Buffeted by arbitrage dealings, the Nikkei average firmed just 17.05 to 16,509.68.

Hong Kong: Late profit-taking reduced gains. The Hang Seng finished at 5,939.89, up 16.16.

Sydney: Rises on overseas markets boosted investor sentiment. The All Ordinaries index added 5.6 points to 1,534.8.

Johannesburg: A weaker De Beers on news of a planned increase in Russian diamond production set the tone. The index eased one point to 3,404.

Frankfurt: Fading hopes of an impending interest rate cut pulled the DAX index down 13.84 in thin trade to 1,562.62.

Paris: All Tuesday's gains were wiped out by interest rate gloom. The CAC-40 index retreated 15.2 points to 1,777.35.

Zurich: Weakness in blue chips depressed the market. The index shed 20.2 points to 2,064.1.

London: Report, page 31.

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