Business and City in Brief

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Dan-Air deal given the nod

The European Commission will not investigate the proposed takeover by British Airways of Dan-Air.

The acquisition now depends on the Office of Fair Trading, which may refer the deal to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission or recommend that the Government attach conditions.

Railways order

The French national railway system and the Paris public transit system are ordering 143 two-level trains, 70 of the orders firm, from a grouping led by GEC-Alsthom, which said the firm orders represented a value of Fr4.5bn ( pounds 560m).

Transport plea

South-east England will become the UK's Achilles heel unless money is spent on vital transport projects, a Confederation of British Industry report says.

GPA tries again

GPA, the Irish aircraft leasing group, said it would complete its refinancing package in the first quarter of next year. A dollars 350m preference share issue and a dollars 752m securitisation deal were expected to have been in place before Christmas.

Parretti sues Giancarlo Parretti said he would take legal proceedings against Credit Lyonnais over its role during the struggle for control of MGM. He said Rome and Orvieto courts would hear a damages claim against the bank for L450bn ( pounds 225m).

Sasea goes under

Sasea Holding, best known for its involvement in MGM-Pathe Communications, has been declared bankrupt in Geneva.

Booker in Spain

Booker, the food distributor, has bought a 91.25 per cent stake in a Spanish cash-and- carry business for pounds 2.2m.

US home sales hit

New homes sales in the US fell 1 per cent in September after a revised 1.6 per cent rise in August.

Blow for Tapie

Bernard Tapie Finance said the Fr110m ( pounds 13.4m) management buyout of Terraillon, its weighing machine subsidiary, had fallen through. Pentland pulled out of a pounds 215m deal to buy Adidas, the German sportswear firm controlled by Mr Tapie, a fortnight ago.

James to retire

Bob James has taken early retirement due to ill health and resigned as finance director of Barratt Developments. He will be succeeded by Colin Dearlove, group accountant.

Coloroll hearing The European Court of Justice will hear the Coloroll test case on equalising pension ages on 26 January.

World Markets

New York: Weak bond prices pushed shares lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 19.99 points at 3,226.28.

Tokyo: Poor corporate earnings prospects weakened sentiment further. The Nikkei average fell 170.31 points to 16,767.4.

Hong Kong: Improving Sino- British relations over the colony's future helped the Hang Seng index to a 73.19-point gain, ending at 6,190.69.

Sydney: A rally in bond futures lifted the All Ordinaries index eight points to 1,425.8.

Bombay: Prices continued to fall despite a ban on short sales. The index lost 28.81 to 2,833.34.

Johannesburg: The overall index closed unchanged at 3,017.

Frankfurt: In a session described by a trader as 'virtually a non-event', the DAX index eased 1.32 points to 1,492.32.

Paris: The CAC-40 traded in a wide range before settling 11.53 points to the good at 1,742.4.

Milan: The rally continued, the MIB gaining 23 points to 871.

London: Report, page 21.