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Police raid Bayer offices

German federal police said they raided the offices of Bayer, the chemical group, and seized documents as part of an investigation into the illegal production and sale of toxic materials for treating wood.

The Federal Criminal Office said eight Bayer staff were suspected of having approved the production and sale of the chemicals by a Bayer subsidiary.

Ford shake-up

Lindsey Halstead is retiring as Ford of Europe chairman at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by Jacques Nasser, president of Ford of Australia.

MAI sale

Lord Hollick's MAI Group has sold the 15 per cent stake it retained in its advertising business, Avenir, to Havas for pounds 40m. The stake was valued at pounds 16m in MAI's accounts.

Pirelli puncture

Shares in Pirelli Tyre Holding, the Amsterdam-listed 80 per cent-owned tyre unit of Italy's Pirelli Spa, slumped by a third on news that it planned to double its capital by raising 465m guilders ( pounds 170m) in new shares.

Packer purchase

Kerry Packer, Australia's richest man, plans to buy 10 per cent of Westpac, the country's largest bank, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The newspaper, quoting unnamed sources close to Mr Packer, said he planned to shake up Westpac.

Oftel shortlist

Sally Hunt, the director of Nera, the economic consultancy, has been shortlisted for the job of director-general at Oftel, the telecommunications watchdog. The list of three includes the acting director general, Bill Wigglesworth.

Rank objection

Unions representing the employees of Ranks Hovis McDougall called on shareholders to reject Hanson's bid.


Exeter Preferred Capital, an investment trust, is buying in less than a fifth of its debenture issue, not half as stated on 8 October.

World Markets

New York: Stocks tumbled as bonds fell sharply and investors abandoned hope for another cut in interest rates. The Dow Jones Average finished down 39.45 points at 3,136.58.

Brussels: The BEL 20 index was up 5.60 points at 1,094.87.

Milan: Prices rose on expectations of a cut in the discount rate. The MIB index rose 31 points or 4.11 per cent to 786.

Frankfurt: In thin trading, the DAX index finished 11.46 points lower at 1,439.66.

Paris: The CAC-40 index was 16.52 points lower at 1,657.34.

Zurich: The broad SPI closed 3.9 points higher at 1,140.2. The SMI index of leading shares added 8.1 to 1,878.4.

Hong Kong: Prices closed sharply higher in active trading. The Hang Seng index rose 41.18 points to close at 5,596.71.

Tokyo: In active trading, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 275.73 points, or 1.59 per cent, to close at 17,059.78.

Sydney: The All-Ordinaries index rose 0.7 points to 1,466.2.

London: Report, page 19.