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INQUIRY INTO YSL SHARE SALE

COB, the regulatory body of the Paris Bourse, has launched an inquiry into the sale of shares in the Yves Saint Laurent company by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge.

Both men sold a bloc of YSL shares worth about Fr100m to Swiss investors at about Fr800 a share between July and September last year, just after the share price surged on the back of Mr Berge's announcement that 15 per cent of the company would be sold. After the sale, news of a 'catastrophic first-half earnings figure' sent the shares plunging to about Fr600.

GREENCORE APPROVES

Greencore shareholders have approved lifting the maximum permitted holding in the Irish food group from 15 to 30 per cent. The vote formalises measures agreed by the Dublin government to repair last month's botched share issue.

GERMAN GDP FALLS

Unification has dragged Germany down the ranking of wealthy nations in the EC, the European Commission's statistics office reported. While the former West Germany remained in second place behind Luxembourg in terms of gross domestic product per head of population in 1991, a unified Germany sank to sixth behind France, Denmark, Belgium and Italy.

GATT COMPLICATION

Sir Leon Brittan, the European external trade commissioner, told the US trade representative that the German/US telecommunications pact has 'complicated' the search for a Gatt deal.

BOWEN FOR BOOKER

Booker, the food distribution and agribusiness company, has appointed Charles Bowen as chief executive to succeed Jonathan Taylor, who becomes chairman. Mr Bowen has resigned as a director of Hillsdown Holdings and as president and chief executive officer of Hillsdown's 56 per cent-owned Canadian affiliate, Maple Leaf Foods.

US TRADE GAP GROWS

The US trade gap soared to its highest level in nearly four and a half years in April. The deficit grew to dollars 10.49bn from a revised dollars 10.45bn in March. The deficit with Japan was the biggest in five and a half years.

DART PROFITS DIP

Profits at Dart Group, the aviation service and distribution company, fell from pounds 1.88m to pounds 1.66m on turnover up 14 per cent at pounds 42.8m in the year ended 31 March 1993.

EAGLE LOSS

Eagle Trust, the former quoted company reliant on its banks' support, reduced its pre-tax loss from pounds 12m to pounds 7.6m last year, on sales that rose slightly to pounds 84.4m. Banks are taking preference shares in lieu of interest payments, allowing Eagle time to pursue legal claims.

RIPP RETIRES

IBM said its vice-president and treasurer, Robert Ripp, would take early retirement from 31 October.

BLEATING BRITISH GAS

(First Edition)

Ofgas, the idustry watchdog, accused 'bleating' British Gas of laying the blame on all but its own management for falling profits.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Blue chip stocks shook off the negative effects of sharp losses in airline shares. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 10.24 points to end at 3,521.89.

TOKYO: Late buying by public sector pension funds pulled prices off their lows, giving the Nikkei average a 23.09-point gain at 19,925.51.

HONG KONG: Disappointment over the lack of progress in Sino-British talks drove the Hang Seng index 115.73 points lower to 7,189.1.

SYDNEY: Continuing gains by gold stocks pushed an otherwise mixed market ahead. The All Ordinaries index added 2.5 points to 1,727.2.

BOMBAY: Fears of political instability after false rumours of the Prime Minister's resignation sent the index down 57.27 to 2,234.8.

FRANKFURT: With sentiment buoyed by the stronger dollar, the DAX index firmed 2.73 points to 1,692.29.

PARIS: Widespread profit-taking trimmed 18.5 points off the CAC-40 index, which ended at 1,900.31.

ZURICH: Supported by the dollar's strength and today's expiry of futures and options contracts, the SPI rose 12.88 points to 1,458.43.

MILAN: In a technical rebound after recent sharp falls the MIB advanced 2.86 per cent to 1,152.

LONDON: Report, page 26.

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