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WPP CLINCHES ITS REFINANCING

WPP Group, the troubled advertising agency, obtained overwhelming shareholder approval for a dollars 422m refinancing to cut its debts and provide fresh working capital.

Shareholders voted with a 99 per cent majority to approve the refinancing, which includes a partial equity-for-debt swap giving WPP banks control of the group.

View from City Road, page 25

IMF RUSSIA LOAN

The International Monetary Fund approved a dollars 1.04bn loan for Russia. Western officials hope it will give a boost to President Boris Yeltsin's shaky economic reform programme.

GAS DOWNGRADED

Standard & Poor's, the credit rating agency, has lowered the long-term debt issued and guaranteed by British Gas to AA plus from AAA. Some dollars 5.2bn ( pounds 2.7bn) of debt is affected.

YORKSHIRE FALLS

Shares in Yorkshire Chemicals fell 7p to 283p after Barclays de Zoete Wedd downgraded its pre-tax profit forecast to pounds 10m from pounds 10.5m for this year. The forecast for next year has been lowered to pounds 11m from pounds 12m.

BAe GO-AHEAD

The Government has cleared BAe's acquisition of the armaments maker British Manufacturing and Research. The deal was announced in April after BMARC went into receivership.

CHINESE FAILURES

China has allowed 66 companies to be declared bankrupt in the first half of this year, a warning that efficiency is now prized over ideology in the drive to reform the economy.

HOVIS DEAL

Ranks Hovis is to acquire all the shares of Van der Zande Meelfabriek 'De Waal', a family-owned flour milling business based in the Netherlands.

OIL FIND

Shell has discovered a potentially significant oil field off southern Thailand. Production could begin next year and yield up to 10,000 barrels a day.

BA TRAFFIC UP

British Airways' July traffic rose by 15.2 per cent to 7.04 billion revenue-passenger-kilometres against July 1991.

MSE OIL DEAL

Midland & Scottish Energy, the wholly owned subsidiary of Midland & Scottish Resources, has been approved by the DTI as operator for the Emerald field. MSE now owns 98 per cent of the field.

CANADA PRIME CUT

Canadian banks cut their prime lending rates from 6.75 per cent to 6.5 per cent, their lowest since 1973.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Trading was quiet ahead of the release of US unemployment figures for July. The Dow Jones average closed 19.18 points down at 3,365.14.

TOKYO: Futures-linked programmes lifted prices, but the Nikkei average closed off its high at 15,983.64, up 291.05.

HONG KONG: Cautious trade left the Hang Seng index 18.54 points easier at 5,821.24.

SYDNEY: Thin volume ahead of the budget and unemployment data took the All Ordinaries index 7.1 points lower to 1,605.4.

BOMBAY: Institutional demand failed to halt the slide as the index fell 56.26 to 2,630.23.

PARIS: Heartened by another poll forecasting a vote in favour of the Maastricht treaty, the market lifted the CAC-40 index 10.35 points to 1,797.98.

FRANKFURT: Early losses were turned into a 1.1 per cent gain as the DAX index posted a 17.3-point rise to 1,628.81.

MILAN: The MIB dipped 1.31 per cent to 827 as recent buying interest dried up.

LONDON: Report, page 25.

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