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The Independent Online
BAe 'SWEETENERS' THREATENED

British Aerospace will have to repay pounds 44.4m, plus interest, in 'sweeteners' received from the Government when it bought the Rover car group in 1988, the EC competition commissioner Karel van Miert has ruled.

His recommendation is expected to be approved by the full Commission on Wednesday. A similar decision in 1990 by his predecessor, Sir Leon Brittan, was overturned in the European Court of Justice on a technicality.

BUILDING SOCIETY PROFITS FALL 22%

National & Provincial Building Society's 1992 pre-tax profits fell 22 per cent to pounds 80m after loss provisions doubled to pounds 109m. The society said about 10 per cent of its 380,000 customers were in arrears. Last week, Woolwich, the fourth- largest society, reported 9 per cent of customers in arrears.

SALOMON LOSSES

Salomon Brothers, the investment bank, warned of an estimated dollars 250m pre-tax operating loss for January and February resulting from trading activities involving its own capital.

OIL PRICE LEAPS

World oil prices soared more than 50 cents a barrel to their highest level in four months on heavy futures buying. In London, Brent crude April futures closed up 51 cents at dollars 19.48.

500m POUNDS PARTS DEAL

Unipart, the car component company based in Oxford, announced a 10-year pounds 500m deal to continue supplying service parts for Jaguar cars.

AIRBUS JOBS SHOCK

Deutsche Aerospace Airbus plans short-time working for 23,000 employees because of cancellations of orders for about 100 Airbus aircraft.

EXCHANGE RULES

Companies will soon be able to choose from a wider range of professional advisers to sponsor their listing applications, the London Stock Exchange said.

OFWAT STEPS IN

Ofwat, the water industry watchdog, has agreed licence changes to prevent cross-subsidies that could enable non-core businesses in water and sewage groups to benefit at the expense of water customers.

LEISURE OFFER

David Lloyd Leisure, the leisure clubs company, is coming to the market at a price of 150p per share. The flotation values the company at pounds 70.4m. The offer closes on Thursday.

PRICE FREEZE

Electricity companies Norweb and Manweb will freeze prices for a year starting 1 April.

VISA SALES RISE

(First Edition)

Visa International said its market share in the dollars 880bn world-wide market for all-purpose cards rose to 52 per cent in 1992 from 51.5 per cent in 1991

BULL TO AXE 3,000

(First Edition)

Groupe Bull, France's state-controlled computer maker, will cut 3,000 jobs in a restructuring of activities after a Fr4.7bn (pounds 587m) loss in 1992.

HIGH HOPES

(First Edition)

Boeing expects worldwide orders for commercial aircraft to increase at an annual rate of 5.4 per cent until 2010, with at least 12,000 aircraft worth dollars 815bn produced.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Soaring bond prices and a bout of late profit-taking left the Dow Jones Average down 5.13 points at 3,398.91 in nervous trading.

TOKYO: Concerns about the impact of a stronger yen pushed the Nikkei Average 94.31 lower at 16,759.61.

HONG KONG: Hopes of a breakthrough in British-Sino talks lifted the Hang Seng index 31.16 to a record 6,467.80.

SYDNEY: Election uncertainty nudged the All Ordinaries index 3.3 lower at 1,622.9.

JOHANNESBURG: Lack of foreign interest contributed to an 18- point decline in the overall index at 3,349.

FRANKFURT: The DAX index eased 6.33 to 1,687.40 in reaction to the Bundesbank's decision not to lower rates.

MILAN: The MIB index edged up 0.76 per cent to 1,186 in quiet trading.

PARIS: Weaker bond prices and disappointment over interest rates depressed the CAC-40 index 8.49 to 1,986.75.

LONDON: Report, page 27.

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