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NATIONAL EXPRESS TAKEOVER REFERRED

The Monopolies and Mergers Commission will examine National Express's takeover of Saltire, following a referral by Tim Sainsbury, the Minister for Industry.

The takeover left National Express, the privatised former National Bus Company, with a monopoly of cross-border coach services through Saltire's Scottish Citylink business. A referral was recommended by the Office of Fair Trading.

708m POUNDS FOR A RAINY DAY

National Savings products notched up sales of pounds 708m in September. After repayments of pounds 569m, including interest of pounds 136m, the contribution to government funding was pounds 275m. The highest net contribution came from income bonds at pounds 121m. Premium bond takings were a record pounds 49m.

SHIPYARD AXES 300

Another 300 jobs are to be shed at the VSEL shipyard in Barrow- in-Furness, Cumbria, mainly among manual and administrative staff, reducing the workforce to 6,500 from 14,000 two years ago. The company blamed the job losses on a falling order book and the need to remain competitive.

GERMANS GO FOR BUST

The number of western German corporate insolvencies leapt in the first seven months of 1993 compared with the same period last year. There were 9,797 insolvencies, including 7,141 by companies, increases of of 21.3 and 29 per cent respectively.

EC PRODUCTION DOWN

European Community industrial production fell 4.5 per cent in July against the corresponding previous period, after a year-on- year drop in June of 4.2 per cent. The figure, for production across all industrial sectors, is adjusted for the number of working days. EC capital goods production fell 5.7 per cent year-on-year in July.

ON THE UP AND UP

World airline passenger traffic is expected to increase 6.6 per cent from 1993-1997 while freight traffic is forecast to rise 7.2 per cent, the International Air Transport Association said. Transatlantic passenger traffic is expected to grow 5.9 per cent a year.

BRITISH STEEL SALE

British Steel has sold its Hunterston ore terminal in Scotland to Hunterston Bulk Handling, a division of Clydeport, for pounds 4.28m.

CHINA DRAWS dollars 100bn

Approved foreign investment in China is expected to reach dollars 100bn this year, dollars 20bn more than previously forecast.

GILT AUCTION DATE SET

The Government's next gilt auction of conventional stock in the 1997-2001 maturity range will be held on 27 October. Details will be announced on 19 October.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Indications of better- than-expected corporate earnings helped sentiment and by the close the Dow Jones Average was up 8.10 points at 3,629.73. Second-line stocks were strong.

TOKYO: Bargain-hunting left the Nikkei Average 96.61 better at 20,174.42 despite nervousness about comnpany earnings.

HONG KONG: Renewed optimism over the Sino-British negotiations sent the Hang Seng index rocketing 351.58 points to yet another record peak of 8,763.98.

SYDNEY: Strong overseas buying of News Corp shares helped to boost the All Ordinaries index 12.1 points to 2,074.1.

JOHANNESBURG: Gold shares extended losses with the index off 59 at 1,701 by the close.

FRANKFURT: Hopes of lower interest rates lifted the DAX index 24.96 to a record close of 2,015.03.

ZURICH: Shares rose to their sixth consecutive record close on a firmer dollar and easier interest rates. The SPI index ended up 11.66 at 1,637.94.

MILAN: The launch of Fiat's rights issue whetted investors' appetites and the Mitbel index advanced 199 to 10,266.

LONDON: Report, page 20.

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