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THE Securities and Futures Authority, regulator of securities firms, fined Greig Middleton £200,000 over its sponsorship of a trust that cost investors millions of pounds.

The controlling Rupert family made a £1.6bn bid for the 39 per cent of Rothmans International, the cigarette maker, that it does not already own.

Hoechst, the German chemicals group, began High Court proceedings against the Inland Revenue challenging the levy of advance corporation tax on dividends paid by Hoechst's UK subsidiary to its parent.

Fisons and Medeva, the pharmaceuticals distributors, said they were looking at a £900m merger.

Investor unwillingness forced General Cable, the French cable group, to lower the price at which it planned to float shares in London and New York.