Business and City in Brief

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Canadian firm buys Matra stake

Northern Telecom of Canada is to take a 20 per cent stake in France's Matra Communications for Fr1.36bn (pounds 139.6m). The Canadian firm may also take a stake in MMB, the holding company of Matra, according to Matra's chairman, Jean-Luc Lagardere.

He said the accord between Matra and Northern Telecom established a long-term industrial relationship between the two groups.

Reserves steady

Britain's reserves of gold and foreign currency fell by an underlying dollars 14m in June, taking the total to dollars 45.7bn (pounds 24bn). Economists said the small fall suggested the Bank of England had carried out little intervention in the foreign currency markets during the month.

Fimbra move

Fimbra, the regulatory authority for independent advisers, has suspended CB Parikh, of Belbroughton Road, Blakedown, Worcester, because it appeared that the proprietor, Chandrakant Bapalal Parikh, had failed to provide best advice to clients and maintain adequate records.

Boning up

Glaxo has agreed a deal with the Japanese drugs company Yamanouchi under which it will jointly develop and market a treatment for osteoporosis, a bone degeneration disease, in markets outside Japan and South-east Asia.

Bibby deal

The European Commission cleared the bid by J Bibby & Sons for the shares of Finanzauto SA. The Commission said there was no geographical overlap between the parties and therefore no increase in market shares.

Open access

The council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales is to open its meetings to the public for the first time from October, initially for a three-month trial.

Hafnia woes

Hafnia, the Danish insurer, is continuing its investigations into the irregular transactions that led to the suspension of its shares on the Copenhagen and London stock exchanges and the postponement of a Dkr2bn (pounds 180m) rights issue.

Unilever buy

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch food, detergents and personal products group, has bought an Argentinian soap and washing powder company, Establecimientos Fabriles Guereno, for an undisclosed sum.

Cellular fight

Hutchison Telecom of Hong Kong has launched a bid for Australia's third cellular telephone licence.

World Markets

New York: Concern over company profits intensified, leaving the Dow Jones Industrial Average with a 23.81-point loss at 3,330.29 at the close.

Tokyo: With investors cheered by talk of easier credit, the Nikkei average spurted 432.56 points - more than 2.5 per cent - to 16,757.63.

Hong Kong: A day of volatile trade dominated by rumours of a big rights issue took the Hang Seng 61.01 lower to 6,073.74.

Sydney: The All Ordinaries index recorded its biggest rise for seven weeks, adding 14 points to 1,661.7 on hopes of an imminent interest rate cut.

Paris: Shares ended lower, with the CAC-40 index falling away from a 1 per cent gain to end 7.4 points down at 1,873.52.

Frankfurt: Tracking the gains in New York and Tokyo, the DAX index advanced 12.35 points to 1,768.61.

Milan: Hopes of a technical rebound were dashed as the MIB suffered its fifth loss in a row - 1.02 per cent to 877.

London: Report, page 23.