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Panel queries Cowie claim

T Cowie's bid for the fellow motor-dealer Henlys has again drawn the ire of the Takeover Panel. The panel told Cowie to clarify a claim that its motor division was twice as profitable per dealership as Henlys.

Cowie said yesterday that the claim was made solely in relation to 1991 and no such comparision was intended to be made with regard to 1992.

Defence document, page 19

Woolworths offer

SG Warburg Securities and its Australian subsidiary have been appointed lead managers for the public share offer of Woolworths Ltd, an Australian store group with no connection with the businesses of the same name in Britain or the US.

Irish profits

Ireland's Independent Newspapers said pre-tax profits rose from Ir pounds 5.2m to Ir pounds 7m ( pounds 6.8m) in the first half. Tony O'Reilly, chairman, said the company would increase the interim dividend by 10 per cent to 5.5p.

China invests

China's oldest hotel, the Beijing, is to invest in businesses in four republics of the former Soviet Union as part of an overseas expansion plan. A Hong Kong newspaper said the 90-year-old hotel in Peking had signed investment agreements or letters of intent with seven enterprises in Russia, Uzbekistan, Lithuania and Latvia.

Oil search

Lasmo and C Itoh of Japan have signed a contract with Vietnam to look for oil off the country's continental shelf.

Lloyd's mistake

The Association of Lloyd's Members' review of syndicate performance said yesterday it wrongly listed R J Wallace, underwriter of syndicate 386, as being paid pounds 412,000 last year, a figure reported here. The ALM said the figure was the combined 1991 remuneration of Mr Wallace and his predecessor, M W Payne.

Ciba-Geigy climb

Ciba-Geigy, the Swiss drugs firm, said consolidated net profit in the first half of the year rose to Sfr1.42bn ( pounds 580m) from Sfr1.27bn last year. Total sales in the period rose to Sfr12.26bn from Sfr10.95bn.

Lex loses

Lex Service said Volvo would take over importing its cars and parts into Ireland, prematurely ending Lex's import concession. Earlier this year, Volvo took over Lex's UK concession.

Share warning

Authorities in China's Shenzhen special economic zone warned would-be investors they may face criminal charges if they resell their share application forms. Distribution of the forms sparked rioting.

World Markets

New York: The pressure on the dollar sparked heavy selling, leaving the Dow Jones average down 50.79 points at 3,254.10 at the close.

Paris: Short-covering prompted a flurry of buying. The CAC- 40 index ended 20 points higher at 1,744.18.

Milan: The MIB share index closed 0.25 per cent up at 797.

Frankfurt: The 30-share DAX index ended 6.96 points higher at 1,520.02.

Johannesburg: Shares sparkled on hopes that stalled democracy talks would resume soon. The overall index was up 23 points at 3,179.

Hong Kong: Shares rebounded moderately after Thursday's 139-point plunge. The Hang Seng index gained 27.78 points to close at 5,509.39.

Tokyo: Stocks rallied for a third consecutive day. The 225-share Nikkei average ended up 949.12 points at 16,216.88.

Sydney: The All Ordinaries index closed 5.7 points up at 1559.3.

London: Report, page 19.

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