Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online

The European Commission is today expected to approve a financial rescue package for Aer Lingus, the Irish carrier, but with strict conditions attached.

A government cash infusion of Ir pounds 175m ( pounds 167m) is likely to be given the green light provided, among other things, cost-cutting measures aimed at saving an annual Ir pounds 50m are implemented.


The Janson Green Action Group, a group of Lloyd's of London members, said it rejected the insurance market's offer of compensation for past losses and planned court action. Writs were to be issued against Janson Green, the auditors Ernst & Young, and dozens of members' agents, it said.

'BEEF' COSTS BTR dollars 21m

The conglomerate BTR has bought the US industrial batteries division of Gates Energy Products, based in Missouri, for dollars 21.4m ( pounds 14.4m). BTR said Gates would beef up its American batteries operation and provide new products for sale in Europe and the Pacific Rim.


West German producer prices were unchanged in November from October but fell 0.2 per cent year-on-year. October producer prices were unchanged from September and down 0.3 per cent year-on-year.


The National Association of Pension Funds has called for the establishment of a code of practice based on the recommendations of the Goode report on pension law reform. The NAPF said the code would give safeguards to pension scheme members in the years before new legislation was implemented.


Nissan vehicle exports fell 39 per cent in November from a year earlier to 51,066, the 16th month of year-on-year declines, reflecting sluggish demand worldwide, especially in Europe. Toyota said vehicle exports fell 21.7 per cent in November from a year earlier to 108,562, the sixth successive month of year-on-year declines.


Peter Ellwood, chief executive of TSB, yesterday denied speculation that the bank is trying to sell its merchant banking arm, Hill Samuel. 'It is an important part of TSB Group and we are investing in its development,' he said.

pounds 16m gas venture

British Gas has paid dollars 24m ( pounds 16.1m) for 45 per cent of a gas- fired power station in Buenos Aires.


The French current account showed a provisional, unadjusted surplus of Fr12.3bn ( pounds 1.4bn) in September against Fr7.3bn in August, the economy ministry said.


NEW YORK: In subdued trading shares moved in a narrow range, and by the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 3.64 points at 3,755.21.

TOKYO: Shares dipped sharply in thin trade. The Nikkei average fell 647.67 points to 17,404.24.

HONG KONG: The Hang Seng index, now standing at almost double its level last January, posted another record with a gain of 245.92 (2.3 per cent) to 10,814.78.

SYDNEY: In cautious trading following the Federal Treasurer's resignation the All Ordinaries index gave up 4.2 points to 2,076.

BOMBAY: With the brokers' boycott in its fifth day, directors of the exchange were meeting to discuss a possible solution.

JOHANNESBURG: Bullion's latest surge sent the gold index 2.8 per cent higher. The overall index added 37 points to 4,647.

PARIS: Extending Friday's rally, the CAC-40 index gained another 27.03 points to 2,223.47.

FRANKFURT: Positive sentiment lifted the DAX index 27.14 to 2,178.16 in moderate trade.

LONDON: Report, page 24.