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The Independent Online
PARIS VIRGIN AGREES TO SUNDAY CLOSING

Richard Branson's French operation said yesterday that it would close its Virgin Megastore on the Champs-Elysees next Sunday after it had defied laws on Sunday trading for one month.

The decision to close is seen as an attempt to cool the atmosphere. The Paris appeals court has ruled that Virgin must pay Fr1m ( pounds 113,000) every time it opens on a Sunday.

SWAN GLOOM

Firms owed money by the insolvent Swan Hunter shipyard are unlikely to salvage anything from its crash. Receivers told a creditors' meeting in Newcastle that the company had an estimated total deficiency of pounds 51.4m, including pounds 10.98m in called-up share capital. Lloyds Bank is owed pounds 12.2m.

LONG HAUL AT VW

German public prosecutors do not expect a quick conclusion to their investigations into claims of industrial espionage by Volkswagen managers. 'A decision over whether to bring charges is not to be expected in the near future,' a spokesman said.

VW costs, page 22

BANK AMENDMENT

The Financial Reporting Review Panel, the accountancy watchdog, has forced Royal Bank of Scotland to amend its accounts after investigating its treatment of figures relating to its Direct Line insurance arm. A credit of pounds 9.1m, treated as an exceptional item, is to be restated as a prior-year adjustment.

GLOBEX BREAKDOWN

Liffe, the futures and options market, has broken off talks about participating in the Globex international trading system. The Chicago Board of Trade vetoed the introduction of some of Liffe's most successful contracts, especially German bond futures, because their inclusion in Globex could result in business switching to London.

WORLD CUP TEAM

PolyGram has formed an entertainment partnership with World Cup USA 1994, the organising committee, to cover music events, albums and videos. The company did not say how much it expected to earn from the deal.

DRESDNER IMPROVES

Dresdner Bank's first-half operating profit rose 13.9 per cent to DM936.1m ( pounds 379m) from DM822.1m a year earlier. Provisions against bad loans rose 25.2 per cent to DM758.2m.

GLAXO TAX RISE

Glaxo's US arm, Glaxo Inc, said the budget deficit reduction package passed by the US Senate last Friday would increase its total annual tax rate by 1 per cent.

GM RECALLS SATURN

General Motors Corp is recalling nearly 353,000 Saturn cars in the US to fix a wiring defect that has caused 34 engine fires. Analysts say the recall could affect Saturn's reputation because it has been touted as an alternative to Japanese imports.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Blue-chip stocks succumbed to profit taking. The Dow Jones Average closed 3.35 points down at 3,572.73.

PARIS: The bourse dug itself out of a hole in afternoon trade and the CAC-40 ended 1.26 points up at 2,139.78.

FRANKFURT: Share prices ended weaker on moderate profit-taking. The DAX index slumped 7.14 to close at 1,865.16.

MILAN: News of losses at Ferruzzi group weakened shares of banks exposed to it. The MIB index ended 87 points down at 10,493.

SINGAPORE: Stocks rose on the back of strong GDP growth data. The Straits Times Industrial index closed up 27.59 points at 1,898.84.

HONG KONG: Shares slipped in cautious trading. The Hang Seng Index fell 52.41 points to 7,329.81.

SYDNEY: Prices rose, buoyed by the firm gold price and Wall Street strength. The All Ordinaries index gained 16.1 points to 1,860.4.

TOKYO: Investors reacted negatively to comments by Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa apparently ruling out any quick move to cut income taxes. The Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.70 points to 20,493.75.

LONDON: Report, page 22.

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