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The Independent Online
Bond ruled fit to face fraud hearing

Alan Bond, the bankrupt Australian businessman, is mentally fit to face a preliminary hearing in July on four art fraud charges, Perth magistrate Ivan Brown said. He ruled against an application by Mr Bond's lawyers to adjourn the preliminary hearing until next February, because Mr Bond was allegedly suffering brain damage.

The fraud charges relate to the Adollars 17m ( pounds 8.3m) acquisition of the French impressionist painting La Promenade while Mr Bond was a director of Bond Corp between December 1988 and December 1989.

Euro Disney fears

Shares in Euro Disney, the French theme park undergoing a financial reconstruction, were suspended on the Paris bourse after falling almost Fr3 to Fr13.05 ( pounds 1.59) as a result of arbitrage trading and worries that its giant rights issue will be undersubscribed.

Pounds 5.4m fund-raiser

Universal Ceramic Materials is raising pounds 5.4m in a flotation by way of a placing of 7 million shares at 86p each that values the fused ceramic specialist at pounds 18.9m. The flotation, sponsored by Beeson Gregory, is to finance capital investment programmes and acquisitions.

Unilever link

Unilever and Suchel, the Cuban state detergents operation, are joining forces to market a range of detergents and toiletries brands for the Cuban market. Products to be launched include OMO detergent powder.

Zeneca in China

Zeneca expects to invest dollars 100m in China in the next five years, according to chief executive David Barnes. The company has set up a joint-venture pharmaceutical consultancy and a dollars 60m joint venture plant to produce Paraquat.

Sculley for Kodak

Eastman Kodak has engaged John Sculley as a marketing adviser to assist the company in building its digital imaging and brand marketing strategies. The former chief executive of Apple Computer is self-employed in New York City and will devote about 25 per cent of his professional time to Kodak.

PW denies arrests

Price Waterhouse denied reports yesterday that two employees had been arrested in Italy, saying instead that a PW partner, Roberto Donatov, had been served with a 'precautionary notice' by the Italian authorities over his role in auditing Ferruzzi and Montedison. The notice has to be served before any investigation can take place.

World Markets

New York: US blue chips recorded their largest one-day loss for nearly three months as efforts to support the dollar fuelled stock market anxiety. The Dow Jones Average closed 62.14 points lower at 3,636.94.

Tokyo: Futures-linked selling lowered the Nikkei average 273.46 to 20,766.75 in thin trade.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index closed near the day's low at 8,881, a loss of 85.79 points.

Sydney: Mining shares eased but industrials strengthened, leaving the All Ordinaries index 4.6 points in arrears at 2,017.9.

Johannesburg: Shares tracked falling world markets and confidence in bullion weakened. The index dipped 96 points to 5,592.

Paris: A heavy downturn late in the session left the CAC-40 index with a 32-point fall at 1,907.02.

Frankfurt: Nervous trading dominated by bond futures left the DAX 16.79 off at 2,005.31.

Zurich: Intervention to support the dollar had a beneficial effect late in the day, but the SPI recorded a loss of 23.28 to 1,711.19.

London: Report, page 13.

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