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Elf-Aquitaine names new chief

The board of Elf-Aquitaine, France's biggest industrial firm and the eighth-largest oil company in the world, has approved the nomination of Philippe Jaffre as chief executive as Elf prepares for privatisation.

Mr Jaffre, 48, who was managing director of the Credit Agricole bank, is a former Finance Ministry inspector. He replaces Lok le Floch-Prigent, who has been named head of Gaz de France, the state gas utility.

Power price pact

The 12 regional electricity companies have agreed to proposals by the regulator, Offer, for new controls on their electricity supply prices. The current regime, limiting increases to the retail price index, will be changed to RPI minus 2 percentage points from 1 April 1994. Prices for distribution, from which the companies make most of their profits, are under review.

Mercury discounts

Mercury Communications is offering 'loyalty' discounts to customers whose bills exceed pounds 20 a month and is restructuring prices to use charging bands similar to those used by BT so that it is easier to compare prices.

Tapie 'broke'

The French businessman Bernard Tapie, the former owner of the Adidas sports company, said yesterday that the value of his companies had tumbled, his properties were mortgaged, and he was broke.

Busier BA

British Airways' passenger traffic increased by 11.5 per cent in July, the strongest month so far in the current financial year. Passenger traffic on routes between the UK and the rest of Europe rose by 16.6 per cent on a year earlier.

Rolls contract

Rolls-Royce and Westinghouse Electric of the US have won a dollars 39m contract to supply power generation equipment to Tennessee Valley Authority. Rolls and Westinghouse formed a 15-year power generation alliance last year.

Hodder jobs axed

Hodder Headline is making 152 people redundant as part of the reorganisation following the merger of Hodder & Stoughton and Headline Book Publishing in June. Most job losses are on the administrative side.

Hot coffee

Coffee prices shot higher yesterday for the second time this week after more predictions of cold weather in the world's largest producer, Brazil. The London futures contract for near-November delivery soared by more than dollars 50 to set a new high of dollars 1,138 a tonne but closed dollars 38 higher at dollars 1,125.

Gencor terms

Gencor unveiled final terms for the proposed unbundling of significant interests. For every 100 Gencor shares held, shareholders will receive about 5.6 shares in the energy group Engen, four shares in the forest products group Sappi, 15.7 shares in the investment arm Genbel Investments and 4.3 shares in the industrial holding company Malbak.

World Markets

New York: The day ended mixed, stalled by rising interest rates and uncertainty over the fate of President Clinton's budget package. The Dow fell 9.22 points to 3,552.05.

Tokyo: Index-linked technical dealing took the Nikkei average up 139.91 points to 20,497.55.

Hong Kong: Profit-taking after recent gains left the Hang Seng index 47.63 points lower at 7,164.2.

Sydney: A lower gold price limited gains. The All Ordinaries index closed 5.8 points better at 1,861.2.

Bombay: The index eased 2.29 points to 2,334.33 on institutional selling in a shortened session.

Johannesburg: Buying from London in late trade took gold shares off their lows. The overall index ended seven points firmer at 4,131.

Frankfurt: Fuelled by fresh hopes of lower interest rates, the DAX index added 17.13 points to 1,860.56.

Paris: More profit-taking pulled the CAC-40 down 9.22 to 2,101.36.

Zurich: Prices closed well off their highs. The SPI rose 2.96 to 2,430.7.

Milan: Continuing hopes of a reduction in interest rates pushed the MIB up 12 points to 1,282.

London: Report, page 26.