Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
Listing rule signals he end of USM

An amendment to a European directive yesterday cleared the way for companies on the unlisted securities market to move up to a full listing.

Approval in Brussels of changes to the listings directive is a key legal step in the Stock Exchange's plans to phase out the USM.

Eko steel seeks buyer

Eko Stahl, eastern Germany's largest steel plant, must be privatised in the near future, the government said. The Treuhand privatisation agency and senior politicians have embarked on a frantic search for a new partner to rescue Eko following the surprise pull-out at the weekend from its purchase by Riva, the private Italian steel firm.

Trade marks ruling

The Government has finally ruled out an amendment to the Trade Marks Bill that would make it easier for manufacturers to challenge own-label copycats. It said it would consider the problem of unfair competition in the future.

Rescue aborted

Seafield, the Irish transport and warehousing group facing a shareholder rebellion, said talks about a rescue takeover had been called off. Dissident shareholders had criticised the planned reverse takeover by Imari, a private company.

Minorco sale

Minorco plans to raise up to dollars 230m by selling its interest in the Collahusai copper joint venture in Chile and through a dollars 120m rights issue.

Lucas unit faces fine

Lucas Industries said its Lucas Aerospace Communication & Electronics Inc unit agreed to enter a guilty plea to a count of falsifying test results for launcher electronic units built for the US Air Force. A fine, costs and restitution could total more than dollars 12m.

More passengers

BAA's seven airports handled 6.7 million passengers in April, an increase of 2.1 per cent on the same month last year.

Staying on

Professor Stephen Littlechild has been appointed for a second term as director-general of electricity supply. The new term starts on 1 September.

Plan in doubt

The European Commission said it had serious doubts over whether to allow a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Montedison Nederland to create a joint venture in plastics.

Dutch treat

(First Edition)

The Netherlands' largest share offer is under way as government shares worth more than 6.6bn guilders (pounds 2.35bn) are up for sale in the post and telecoms company Konninklijke PTT.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: Higher bond prices sparked a recovery from early profit-taking, and by the close the Dow Jones Average was 11.82 points up at 3,671.50.

Tokyo: Firmness of the yen in foreign exchange trading triggered light selling, taking the Nikkei 82.31 lower to 20,188.44.

Hong Kong: Late bargain-hunting in properties carried the Hang Seng up 118.69 to 9,253.41.

Sydney: Active overseas buying interest sent shares sharply higher, with the All Ordinaries index 40.9 points better at 2,110.9

Bombay: Buying by foreign funds and speculators lifted the index 40.7 points to 3,849.

Johannesburg: Gold stocks fell on a lower bullion price but other shares traded in a tight range. The index lost 37 points to 5,497.

Paris: The CAC-40 index edged up 0.7 of a point to 2,187.7 in thin trade as last week's modest rally began to run out of steam.

Frankfurt: In very thin volume the DAX index moved ahead 12.36 points to 2,271.11.

Zurich: Overall sentiment was helped by an improvement in the bond market. The SPI climbed 21.06 points to 1,775.88.

London: Report, page 26.

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