Business and City in Brief

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QVC bid strategy worries Paramount

With Paramount investors due to tender their shares on Monday, the company's directors expressed 'grave concern' that QVC Network, one of the two groups vying to control the studio, had violated the rules of the dollars 10bn bidding war.

Viacom, QVC's rival and the apparent front-runner, has complained that although the deadline for new offers passed on 1 February, the cable shopping group had been suggesting that its bid might be increased next week.

Options move

Shareholders should refuse to approve executive share option schemes, which are a one-way bet for a small number of employees, according to Alan MacDougall, of Pensions and Investment Research Consultants. The adviser to pension funds believes 'shareholders have a responsibility to put a brake on excessive pay awards'.

US action

A senior official said the US is considering a range of options for trade action against Japan before the July G7 summit following the failure to reach agreements at yesterday's meetings.

Armour strengthens

Armour Trust made pre-tax profits of pounds 900,000 in the six months to the end of October, against pounds 800,000 in the previous first half. The dividend was raised 10 per cent to 0.38p per share.

More Metall losses

Metallgesellschaft will report a loss in the year to next 30 September similar to last year's DM1.8bn, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said.

New parts for Seat

Seat, the Spanish subsidiary of Volkswagen, has formed a car parts company with international market leaders Bertrand Faure and Johnson Controls, and the Spanish firm Inepso. The new company will manufacture seats, covers and seat frames in Barcelona where VW is ending car production this year.

Granny gets pounds 75m

Total gross sales of National Savings products in January were pounds 840m. After repayments of pounds 567m and including accrued interest of pounds 135m, the contribution to government funding was pounds 408m. Pensioners Guaranteed Income Bonds, which went on sale on 21 January, had sales of pounds 75m.

Polish by-pass

Poland is considering by-passing a steering committee representing its 400 bank creditors and making a rescheduling deal directly with creditors.

Simon moves

Simon Engineering has warned of 150 possible redundancies. The company is to transfer the production of its access equipment from Dudley to Gloucester.

Slow process

(First Edition)

German Finance Minister Theo Waigel said cutting state subsidies to industry would be a slow and gradual process. The 1993 federal budget deficit was DM66.1bn, DM1.5bn below the target, according to final figures.

Mutual investigation

(First Edition)

The US Securities and Exchange Commission asked 30 mutual fund companies for information about personal trading practices of their fund managers. The agency launched the inquiry in response to concern in Congress.

World Markets

New York: Early gains, following better-than-expected economic data, returned in late afternoon and the Dow Jones average slipped just 0.56 to 3,894.78.

Tokyo: Closed (holiday).

Hong Kong: Closed (holiday).

Sydney: The market climbed off the floor to finish in positive territory after two successive heavily losing sessions. The All Ordinaries added 7.1 points to 2,241.4.

Bombay: Heavy selling followed an increase in carry-forward charges on the Calcutta exchange. The index lost 39.16 points to close at 4,000.74.

Johannesburg: Political fears and gold price lethargy combined to send the overall index down 68 points to 4,777.

Frankfurt: Quiet trading dominated by a fall in futures left the DAX 28.35 weaker at 2,090.61.

Paris: Continuing its decline, the CAC-40 index finished 21.68 points adrift at 2,275.09.

Zurich: Late buying made up some early losses. The Swiss Performance Index closed at 1,899.14, a decline of 18.5 points.

London: Report, page 20.