Business and City summary

Car industry aid approved

The European Community has approved Italian state aid of 5,189bn lire ( pounds 2.4bn) to Fiat for an ambitious plan to expand its car and engine plants in southern Italy.

The Commission also cleared a package of DM260.1m ( pounds 107m) of German subsidies to Opel for a car plant in eastern Germany.

Albanian deal

The UK-based Premier Consolidated Oilfields has acquired a 25 per cent stake in a consortium to explore for oil in offshore Albania. The block covers an area of 766,000 acres.


McDonald's, the fast-food chain synonymous with hamburgers and french fries, is test- marketing a vegetarian burger made of potatoes, peas, carrots, onion and spices in the Netherlands.

Luxair stake

Lufthansa, the German airline, has bought a 13 per cent share in Luxembourg's national airline, Luxair. The purchase price was not disclosed. Lufthansa has an option to buy another 10 per cent until the end of 1995. Luxair needs money to help pay for an investment in new aircraft.

Qantas offers

Australia's Finance Minister, Ralph Willis, confirmed that British Airways and Singapore Airlines had made offers for a part-share in the government- owned Qantas Airways. The government wants to sell all of Qantas, with a so-called trade sale to other airlines and companies followed by an initial public offering.

Oil slips

World oil prices renewed an abrupt slide that has taken them down by 15 per cent in seven weeks because of fears about weak demand. Futures for North Sea Brent fell almost 30 cents to dollars 17.65 per barrel at one stage. This compares with almost dollars 21 in mid-October and was the weakest since 13 March. Futures for US light crude lost almost 20 cents.

United buys

United Newspapers' US subsidiary, Miller Freeman, is paying dollars 18.5m ( pounds 11.6m) for M&T Publishing, a California-based publisher of computer magazines and books. An additional dollars 1m is payable if M&T beats its profit targets.

Holiday sale

The receivers Touche Ross have sold six of Holimarine's seven UK holiday parks to a consortium led by David Hardick of Wilson Leisure, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, for an undisclosed sum. The rescue secures the jobs of more than 600 full-time and seasonal staff. Holimarine's parent, Mowat Group, was put into receivership in September.

World Markets

New York: Late buying of blue- chip stocks edged the Dow Jones average 1.63 points higher to 3,323.81 after earlier falls.

Hong Kong: Share prices surged despite the political row over the colony's future. The Hang Seng index climbed 136.89 points to 5,339.25.

Tokyo: Optimism about the economy saw the 225-issue Nikkei index rise 124.37 points to 17,406.32.

Sydney: Prices were buoyed by a firmer Australian dollar and higher commodity prices. The All-Ordinaries index rose 13.2 points to 1,482.1.

Brussels: Share prices closed mixed, with the BEL 20 index down 0.05 points to 1,129.97.

Frankfurt: The DAX index lost another 7.65 points to 1,500.59.

Milan: The MIB index rose 3 points to 852.

Paris: Share prices rose, pushing the CAC-40 index 25.28 points higher to 1,791.16.

Zurich: The Swiss Market Index rose 18.5 points to 1,980.7, its high for the year so far.

London: Report, page 29.

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