The European Community finally reached agreement on a pounds 320m package to support high definition television (HDTV) yesterday. The deal, which will support programming for HDTV, helps underpin British programme production and television manufacture.
EC telecommunications ministers also formally agreed 1998 as the date for liberalisation of all telephone services. Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Italy all signed up for full liberalisation by 1 January 1998. But Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland can extend the process for a further five years.
ATTALI SEEKS MERGER
Jacques Attali, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has proposed merging the merchant and development banking arms and placing Ernest Stern of the World Bank at its head. Mr Stern is understood to have agreed to the job in principle, but the plan is unlikely to be approved before the G7 summit in July reviews a draft audit of lavish EBRD spending, on which Mr Attali's future depends.
SHELL TO HARVEST CROPS
Shell plans to sell its crop protection division to American Cyanamid Company as part of its strategy to shed poorly performing businesses. The deal, worth about pounds 500m, will cause job losses in Shell's research centres in the UK and the Netherlands.
806,626 POUNDS FOR GREENBURY
Sir Richard Greenbury, chairman and chief executive of Marks & Spencer, earned pounds 806,626 in the year to March, 14 per cent up on last year, of which pounds 126,506 was performance-related bonus. That was below the 33.3 per cent rise in earnings per share and in line with the dividend increase.
Clients owed money by David Coakley, the futures broker that went into liquidation in May after a shortfall of pounds 249,000 in clients' funds was discovered, will receive an initial payout of 90p in the pound from the liquidator, Keith Goodman of Leonard Curtis.
ELF SANOFI SHARES SOLD
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, who held 41 per cent of the Yves Saint Laurent company before its merger with Elf Sanofi, have sold a block of 460,000 Elf Sanofi shares.
VODAFONE DIGITAL LAUNCH
Vodafone will launch a digital cellular telephone service in September, offering better quality than the existing analogue servce and allowing customers to use their telephones in other European countries.
FEELING THE DRAUGHT
Small and medium-sized companies are over-dependent on short-term bank finance, according to accountants polled by the Association of Factors and Discounters. It found 62 per cent of accountants' small business clients rely solely on overdrafts to finance themselves.
MORE US HOMES
New-home construction in the US climbed to the highest level of the year in May, rising 2.4 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.24 million units.
NEW YORK: A late flurry of futures- led program buying ahead of tomorrow's triple witching hour lifted the Dow Jones average to a gain of 19.65 at 3,511.65.
TOKYO: Index-linked selling amid renewed domestic political worries sent the Nikkei average down 143.46 points to 19,902.42.
HONG KONG: Despite lack of progress in Sino-British talks on the colony's future the Hang Seng index rose 21.37 points to 7,304.83.
SYDNEY: A rebound in gold stocks led the market slightly higher. The All Ordinaries index gained just 0.7 of a point to 1,724.7.
JOHANNESBURG: With gold shares substantially higher and industrials also firm, the overall index added 22 points to 3,954.
FRANKFURT: Thin, cautious trading ahead of today's Bundesbank central council meeting left the DAX index 5.46 points better at 1,689.56.
PARIS: Pointers to interest rate cuts pushed shares higher. The CAC-40 index rose 20.95 points to 1,918.81.
ZURICH: The strong dollar helped the SPI to 1,445.55, up 11.76 points.
MILAN: The Ferruzzi crisis continued to weigh on the market. The MIB recovered some early losses to close 1.5 per cent down at 1,116.
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