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Amstrad finance chief resigns

Peter Thoms has resigned as group finance director of Amstrad, the loss-making consumer electronics group headed by Alan Sugar.

The move comes a day after Amstrad warned that its full- year loss to 30 June would be pounds 25m worse than expected because of a price war in the personal computer industry. Mr Thoms is being replaced by Tony Dean.

TT takeover

TT Group has agreed an pounds 11.8m takeover of Magnetic Materials Group. TT acquired a 40 per cent stake in the group in the course of an abortive hostile bid last year. Terms are three TT shares for every 10 MMG shares, valuing MMG shares at 64.5p against a market price of 54p.

MCC Italia sale

Price Waterhouse, the administrator of Maxwell Communication Corporation, has agreed in principle to sell MCC Italia to a consortium of Italian investors led by Bain Gallo Cuneo Capital Investments. MCC Italia owns Panini, the sports sticker company.

Post Office split

The roles of chairman and chief executive at the Post Office are to be split. Bill Cockburn, 49, managing director of the Royal Mail, is to become chief executive in October when Sir Bryan Nicholson's term as chairman and chief executive ends.

US orders up

Orders for US durable goods climbed 2.3 per cent in June following three straight months of decline.

Fokker deal

Fokker, the Dutch aircraft maker, is to be taken over by Germany's Deutsche Aerospace. DA is owned by Daimler-Benz, Germany's biggest industrial group.

German cheer

The inflation rate in western Germany has fallen clearly below 4 per cent this month, according to regional price data.

Private railway

Plans to launch a daily train service from the North-west to London were announced by the Manchester Executive Railway Company.

Fimbra acts

Fimbra, the financial regulator, has suspended the investment business of Coventry Insurance Services, of Foleshill Road, Coventry.

Bid delayed

The pounds 90m hostile bid by the paint maker Kalon for its rival, Manders, has been halted to allow the Office of Fair Trading to consider a reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

Fiat arrest

Giancarlo Cozza, 55, managing director of Fiat's rolling stock unit, Fiat Ferroviaria Savigliagno, amd Luigi Caprotti, 67, president of two Iveco bus dealerships, were arrested in connection with the Milan corruption probe into kickbacks allegedly paid for public works contracts.

New York: Shares moved narrowly in lacklustre trading. By the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 4.33 points weaker at 3,285.71.

Tokyo: Reversing Thursday's gains, the Nikkei average sank to another six-year low of 15,497.79, down 542.15 points.

Hong Kong: Overseas investors dumped blue chips as the Hang Seng plunged 144.4 points (2.44 per cent) to 5,772.76.

Sydney: With investors paying little attention to Tokyo's losses, the All Ordinaries index eased just 1.1 points to 1,609.6.

Bombay: Brokers again boycotted trading on fears that the government would seize the assets of some broking firms.

Paris: Shares ended virtually unchanged, with the CAC-40 just 0.06 higher at 1,734.62.

Frankfurt: Economic and interest rate worries continued to drag the market down. The DAX lost 12.95 to 1,610.42.

Vienna: The all-share index closed at a three-year low, falling 6.12 points to 373.94.