Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
JAPANESE ACCOUNT SURPLUS AT dollars 12bn

Japan's December current account surplus rose to dollars 12.5bn from a surplus of dollars 8.21bn in November, the Ministry of Finance said. In the month, Japan posted a dollars 14.15bn trade surplus, up from the dollars 9.05bn in November.

Japan's December exports totalled dollars 31.77bn, up from dollars 27.50bn in November, with imports declining to dollars 17.62bn from dollars 18.45bn.

SPRING RAM GO-AHEAD

Spring Ram shareholders overwhelmingly approved plans to raise pounds 42m in a rights issue. A proposal to allow the troubled building materials company to increase payments to non-executive directors from pounds 5,000 to pounds 30,000 a year was also passed.

FRENCH OUTPUT RISES

French industrial production rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4 per cent in the third quarter on the previous three months, Insee, the statistics office, said. Manufacturing output fell 0.3 per cent.

TIME WARNER RECORD

Time Warner had its most profitable quarter ever in the final three months of 1993, making dollars 760m before tax and interest payments on revenue of dollars 4.1bn. The entertainment group made dollars 2.83bn (dollars 2.63bn) for the year, before tax and interest.

RUSSIAN ADVISERS QUIT

Andrei Illarionov, an economist and head of a Russian government think-tank, resigned with foreign economic advisers Jeffrey Sachs and Anders Aslund over economic policy. Mr Illarionov said he 'came to the government to conduct reforms, not to bury them'.

VOLEX CREATES 140 JOBS

Volex, a group that supplies household appliance manufacturers with prefitted plugs, which will soon be compulsory on UK equipment, is taking on 140 workers at a new plant in Methyr Tydfil, South Wales.

WAGE TALKS COLLAPSE

Talks between the IG Metall union and metalworking industry organisation Gesamtmetall broke down yesterday, the union said. The talks were to set a standard for wage agreements throughout western Germany.

SOROS BUYS RADIO STAKE

George Soros, the financier, together with Geotek Industries, will buy a 30 per cent stake in Radio Cel for about dollars 24m. Radio Cel has a licence to provide wireless communications to Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara.

WOODCHESTER CLOSURE

(First Edition)

Woodchester Investments, the Irish leasing company, announced a restructuring yesterday including the closure of one UK subsidiary, Woodchester Business Finance, and the sale of the remaining 30 per cent of Woodchester Trade Finance.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Shares were steadier, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 34.90 points at 3,906.32 at the close.

TOKYO: Reacting to the rise in US interest rates, the Nikkei average fell 287.03 points to 20,014.4 in thin trade.

HONG KONG: Almost all last week's gains were clawed back as the Hang Seng plunged 743.3 points (6.11 per cent) to 11,414.27.

SYDNEY: Prices ended sharply down but off lows, with the All Ordinaries 51.7 weaker at 2,281.1.

BOMBAY: Ignoring the trend on other Asian markets, the index added 224.4 points to 4,141.81.

JOHANNESBURG: A weaker gold price and falls on other markets took shares lower. The overall index lost 88 points to 4,933.

PARIS: Taking its cue from other markets, the CAC-40 index retreated 42.11 points to 2,287.06.

FRANKFURT: The DAX index tumbled 58.85 points to 2,079.4.

MILAN: Shares ended lower but recovered some lost ground on Wall Street's positive opening. Volume was below average.

ISTANBUL: Profit-taking reduced gains, leaving the index 317.43 points higher at 18,212.3.

LONDON: Report, page 26.

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