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Looking West

Oxford Molecular Group, the biotechnology company, announced it is acquiring two US-based computer software businesses, Genetics Computer Group and the software businesses of MLR Automation for a total of pounds 13.9m.

The acquisitions are being financed through a 1-for-7 rights issue at 360p per share to raise pounds 30.4m and are aimed at strengthening the company's core business of integrated drug design software and providing a greater presence in the US.

Not for laggards

Only economically fit nations should take part in Europe's monetary union, Bundesbank President Hans Tietmeyer said. He warned that countries lagging behind could endanger the stability of the common currency, which is due to be launched in 1999.

Mr Tietmeyer added that it was "pleasing" that the new Labour government in the UK had given the Bank of England independence in setting interest rates.

HK dollar pledge

The Hong Kong dollar will remain pegged to the US dollar after China takes control of the British colony on 1 July, according to the chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Joseph Yam.