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Adam Opel spurns VW peace talks

Volkswagen, the German car giant, is still seeking talks with Adam Opel in an effort to settle allegations of document theft against senior VW staff. But Opel repeated that it was not ready for negotiations.

Separately, Opel said it would decide whether to sue VW for damages over alleged industrial espionage only after the results of an investigation by public prosecutors. VW has also commissioned a report from independent external auditors and the result is due on 3 September.

World trade record

World trade reached record levels last year with imports rising to dollars 3,800bn - a rise of 7.7 per cent over 1991, the International Monetary Fund said. Imports and exports from the US combined topped dollars 1,000bn for the first time, with imports exceeding exports by dollars 105.2bn. Japan, with less trade, had a surplus of dollars 107bn - dollars 340bn in exports and dollars 232.9bn in imports. Germany recorded exports of dollars 429bn and imports of dollars 408bn.

PW court appeal

Price Waterhouse, the accountancy firm, has appealed against the High Court's dismissal of its attempt to halt a disciplinary inquiry by the Institute of Chartered Accountants into its role as auditor of the collapsed Bank of Credit and Commerce International. The firm - which will not be told the date of the Court of Appeal hearing until later this year - says such an investigation is unfair while it is facing other litigation, including a claim for more than dollars 8bn.

Unit trust sales soar

Strong demand for unit trusts from private and institutional investors pushed net sales to pounds 948m in July, 55 per cent up on June and comparing with a net outflow of pounds 142m in July 1992, according to the Association of Unit Trusts and Investment Funds. Funds under management within unit trusts stood at a record pounds 78.8bn at the end of July.

Bass in India

Bass, the brewer to hotels group, said its Holiday Inn Worldwide unit signed a joint venture agreement with Inn Realty Hotel Ventures of India to develop 70 franchised Holiday Inns there over the next 10 years. The company will focus on secondary cities.

French tax cut tipped

The French government is expected to cut personal income taxes by up to Fr20bn ( pounds 2.27bn), according to Le Canard Enchaine. The weekly said a Fr20bn tax reduction for 1994 was decided at a meeting of ministers on Monday. However, Le Monde said the cut could range from Fr6bn-Fr20bn to stimulate spending and reduce unemployment. A government spokesman refused to comment.

Brokers go banking

Japan's four largest brokers - Nomura, Daiwa, Nikko and Yamaichi Securities - have established fully owned trust banks, capitalised at Y30bn by Nomura and Y20bn each by the rest.

World Markets

New York: Determined buying of cyclical stocks and declining interest rates lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average 32.98 points to a record 3,638.96.

Tokyo: A late bout of index-linked buying cancelled out earlier losses, leaving the Nikkei average 17.7 points firmer at 20,431.84.

Hong Kong: Reports that banks planned to tighten mortgage lending brought a second day of sharp declines. The Hang Seng index lost 60.74 points to 7,327.68.

Sydney: Profit-taking lowered the All Ordinaries 8.6 points to 1,924.2.

Johannesburg: Shares closed mixed in thin trade. The overall index edged up three points to 4,052.

Frankfurt: Ending the two-day slide that followed last week's surge to a 1993 high, the DAX index showed a moderate gain.

Paris: Shares ended firmer on the last day of the August trading account. The CAC-40 index added 12.03 points to 2,123.4.

Zurich: Strong demand for blue- chip drug stocks helped the Swiss Performance Index to 1,564.43, a gain of 4.22 points.

Milan: Prices closed slightly lower in modest, spasmodic trade. The MIB was 0.59 per cent off at 1,353.

London: Report, page 40.