Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
FIRMS' LIQUIDITY

lowest since 1991 Figures from the Central Statistical Office showed that the liquidity of large UK commercial and industrial companies - their realisable assets as a proportion of debts that might quickly be called in - fell in the fourth quarter of 1992 to its lowest level since the beginning of 1991.

The liquidity of manufacturing companies has declined to its lowest level in nearly six years, falling for the third successive quarter.

CASH FOR AIRLINE

The European Community said it would approve an injection of state funds into Aer Lingus, the Irish airline, but warned it had to be a 'one-off' measure based on a viable rescue plan. The airline faces losses this year of about pounds 100m and might have to cut 500 jobs.

TRADE WARNING

Japan's trade surplus in February widened to dollars 10.56bn from a revised dollars 10.18bn a year earlier, prompting calls by economists for the government to stimulate the economy and increase the country's appetite for imports.

FOOD BUY CLEARED

United Biscuits' pounds 24m acquisition of Derwent Valley Food Group will not be referred to the Monopolies & Mergers Commission.

RUSSIAN SURPLUS

Russia recorded a dollars 2.2bn foreign trade surplus in January and February as imports fell sharply. Exports rose 11 per cent to dollars 4.4bn while imports halved.

TOKYO SLUGGISH

The Tokyo Stock Exchange blamed a projected loss of Y4.22bn for the fiscal year ending 31 March on sluggish turnover.

GERMANY IN BLACK

Germany recorded a provisional trade surplus with countries outside the European Community of about DM1bn in January, the Federal Statistics Office said.

BANK SEEKS dollars 13m

Barclays Bank's Miami division filed a claim for dollars 13.826m reimbursement from the Federal government for a US-backed agricultural loan to the former Soviet Union.

2m POUNDS BURGER DEAL

Northern Foods said it acquired the Oakland burger bun and pizza dough business from Grand Metropolitan for pounds 2.2m, dependent on future volumes.

DASA CONTRACTS

Contracts finalising Deutsche Aerospace's acquisition of a 51 per cent stake in Fokker have been signed and will be submitted for approval by the Daimler-Benz and DASA boards.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Hesitation ahead of consumer prices figures restrained shares. By the close the Dow Jones Average was up 0.54 points at 3,442.95.

TOKYO: Ending its seven-day winning streak, the Nikkei average dropped 117.88 points to 17,968.3 on profit-taking.

HONG KONG: Bargain-hunters reversed the slide, taking the Hang Seng up 125.43 points (2.14 per cent) to 5,980.04.

SYDNEY: The All Ordinaries index recouped most of its post-election losses with a 32.9- point advance to 1,659.3.

JOHANNESBURG: Industrials eased, but gold shares continued to rise. The overall index lost five points to 3,454.

FRANKFURT: Thin trade ahead of Thursday's Bundesbank council meeting left the DAX index 4.74 points easier at 1,697.83.

PARIS: Amid uncertainty over interest rates, the CAC-40 index slipped 10.78 to 1,975.25.

MILAN: With Olivetti's losses weighing on sentiment, the MIB lost 1.07 per cent to 1,109.

LONDON: Report, page 33.

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