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HOECHST BLAST KILLS WORKER

A blast that killed a worker at Hoechst's main factory in Frankfurt has provoked sharp criticism of the safety and information procedures of Germany's biggest chemical group.

The accident was the eleventh since 22 February at the plant, situated in highly populated suburbs. The German Environment Minister, Klaus Topfer, said 'more intensive state control of plant safety' would be enacted.

HIT FOR LLOYD

The public offer for sale of 9.8 million shares in David Lloyd Leisure, owner of seven sports clubs with indoor and outdoor tennis courts, has been nearly six times over-subscribed.

GERMAN SALES FALL

Western German retail sales in January fell 10 per cent in real terms and 7 per cent in nominal terms from a year earlier.

FIAT SHEDS 72,200

Fiat will temporarily lay off 72,200 workers in April and May, and cut production by 26,000 cars.

DEFICIT SOARS

France reported a national budget deficit of Fr226.3bn for last year - 3.2 per cent of gross domestic product and more than 150 per cent above target.

LONRHO ADVISER

Morgan Grenfell, the merchant bank, has been appointed an additional adviser to Lonrho in an effort to give the group a better image in the City. Charterhouse Bank will also continue as a financial adviser.

PAYOUT AT LAST

Creditors of St Helen's Insurance Company, which ceased writing business 27 years ago, have agreed a scheme of arrangement allowing them to receive payment for part of their claims by the end of next year.

UNITY IN PROFIT

Unity Trust, the trade union- controlled bank, made a pre-tax profit of pounds 368,000 last year after a pounds 1.7m loss in 1991, largely because bad debt provisions were cut from pounds 3m to pounds 1m.

POST FILES

The New York Post has filed for bankruptcy protection after the prospective new owner, Abe Hirschfeld, sacked 72 staff.

JIB DOWN 9 PER CENT

(First Edition)

JIB, the insurance broker floated off from the Jardine Group, made pounds 18.2m before tax, 9 per cent down on 1991. The final dividend of 5p was unchanged from a year earlier, when the first dividend was paid.

EBRD ECONOMIST

(First Edition)

Michael Bruno, former governor of the Bank of Israel, will replace John Flemming as chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in October.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Shares moved ahead as investors searched for bargains after recent falls. The Dow Jones average ended up 14.59 points at 3,442.41.

TOKYO: The Nikkei average posted its seventh consecutive advance in subdued trade, ending 48.66 better at 18,086.18.

SYDNEY: Prices closed sharply lower in the wake of the election, with the All Ordinaries index down 35.1 points at 1,626.4.

JOHANNESBURG: Late gains by gold shares gave the index a nine-point gain to 3,459.

PARIS: Interest rate speculation helped the CAC-40 index up 20.85 points to 1,986.03.

FRANKFURT: Narrow-range trading ended with the DAX index 4.57 points down at 1,702.57.

ZURICH: Strength in Nestle and the chemicals sector led the market higher. The SPI added 10.11 points to 1,316.5.

MILAN: Technical factors pulled the MIB down 1.32 per cent to 1,121 on the account's last day.

MADRID: The general index edged up 0.32 to 237.73.

LONDON: Report, page 25.

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