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    Made in association with Grampian Television, this is your opportunity to become involved in this exciting project. Debenture holders are entitled to: We believe it's in customers interests to know when they're being charged more than is necessary- And we stl" think too few users know, or can know, what they'reactua,,ypay.

    But he said that the row with Mr Bruton was behind them and acceded to Dublin's request for an early formal meeting between the two governments to clear the air. Mr Major said that the only people "rubbing their hands with glee" over recent events were the IRA. They had scored a propaganda victory. Twenty-four hours earlier, a meeting this week had been ail but ruled out.

    There have been 1, attacks on the police. British officials said last night that the gathering would be attended by Sir" Hugh Annesley. Mr Spring and Sir Patrick will also meet, less formally, today in Belfast an the margins of the multiparty peace talks. Something will happen again that will upset one community or the other. That l can firmly be certain of. When it does then we will try again and if there is a setback we will try yet again, and again and again.

    We owe that to the people of Northern Ireland. Several MPs called for an end to the Anglo-Irish agreement and accused the Government of giving too much ground to the nationalists. He was cheered by backbenchers when he said: By definition the two lead in opposing directions. Father Con McLaughlin, who read the homily, said: And its also available with Rover Select, a smooth transaction which makes owning a as richly rewarding as driving one. He had served four years of an ll-year sentence in the Maze prison for conspiracy and possession pf firearms and explosives.

    The family asked that there be no military trapping at the funeral. A tricolour was draped of er the coffin. He said that about Sinn Fein members had been working on the streeLs over the weekend, trying to calm the rioters. The next potential flashpoint in Londonderry is on August 10 when thousands of apprentice boys are due to march through the city to commemorate the lifting of the siege imposed by James II in But if there is no improvement on the ground, Tory demands for a shift will grow.

    This search has taken many shapes and tire two main parties have tilted in orange and green directions. Bipartisanship has survived the strains of the past week. The emphasis was, rather, on the need for both the London and Dublin Governments to patch things up. Sir Patrick Mayhew sounded, as always, the voice of pronconsular moderation and world-weary reason.

    Mo Mowlam, his Labour Shadow was judiciously restrained in her criticisms. He attracted vocal support from his own side when he challenged the whole basis of the policy of the past -5 years. Tony Marlow and Barry Porter. This is essentially the jnre- grationist policy advocated for so long by Enoch Powell and involves a rejection of any formal role for the Dublin Government and informally of Wasltington in the affairs of Northern Ireland.

    So what say the Tory Unionists: In a similar incident at Hardwar. Others were killed when they were impaled after the bamboo barricades snapped.

    The gate of the temple was dosed and. He said there were only four policemen at the site: Villagers had been collecting in die town since Sunday, singing devotional songs. The bodies were placed in an open area and guarded by volunteers and citizens of Ujjain.

    However, one witness said that robbers were seen taking possessions from the dead and injured. Most of them had come to thank God for the Tains. Several of them were seen dancing and singing in praise of God as they quoted in front of the temple gates. As the dead ana injured were taken to hospital, more pilgrims entered Hardwar to take a dip in this holiest of Indian rivers, unaware of the tragedy. He said that there were no policemen at the bridge to regulate the crowd. Inquiries into the stampedes have been ordered by the state government of both Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and compensation is to be paid to the victims' families.

    There have been several stampedes in India in the past decade which have killed around 1, people. At the centre of the storm are Laurence Leung.

    In the case of Mrs Chan, there have been two rumours this week, both based an press reports from London. The second is that Mrs Chan has arranged with John Major that, after the Chief Executive is named, probably at foe end of this year, she will devote herself to helping him to adjust to his forthcoming duties while retaining her title.

    In foe three days before the Pact crew arrived, two Masai herdsmen were trampled and killed by elephants which share their pastures. Canine distemper, spread from Masai dogs into foe big cal populations of the Mara and neighbouring Serengeti. The calf, no more than a year old. The young female had been wounded in the right foot by a rifle bullet and will be cared for at Nairobi's wildlife orphanage.

    But the decision seems to have over looted the extreme vulnerability of judges, five of whom have been murdered in the past ten years. Armando Spa taro, an anti-Mafia judge in Milan, said: Signor Borrelli claimed that he had never been consulted on the matter.

    Signor Napolitano, who wanted to cut the small army of 4. A police guard has to be provided only for people whose lives are really in danger, otherwise it is just a waste of money. He complained hat if they were relocated, the Saudis would have to provide them with new accommodation. This is not correct because security has been achieved, the rule of Jaw prevails and incidents that happen in our country now are only one out of a million compared to what happens in other countries.

    The Pentagon said last week that some American forces must be moved as a precaution. The FBI has sent 70 agents to Dhahran since the second bombing but their actions have been severely limited by Saudi authorities. Worse, they have been barred from the investigation. Mr Freeh sought US access to several suspects who were detained by Saudi police, though the FBI does not know how many were held, nor why.

    The getaway car used in the blast was found six miles away a few days afterwards, but the Americans learnt of it only at the weekend. The FBI wanted to interview them. Reuter Italian seized BogotA: Reuter Volcano erupts Wellington: Airline pilots reported a 20 ,ft ash column. AP Burma demand Bangkok: A fixed rate mortgage as good as this means you'll be able to look ahead with confidence. So why not let Woolwich Direct help you avoid the ups and downs over the next five years?

    Call us now for a personal quotation in minutes, quoting ref: AP Job creation Warsaw: A volunteer Polish fireman has pleaded guilty to setting light to ten buildings to give himself more work. Total amount payable , For I nte rne t only loans, you are advised to arrange a suitable repayment vehicle w repay the capital u the end of the mortgage term, kf the mortgage Is either redeemed In Ml or In pari or tnnefetTed to mother scheme before 1.

    As mortgages are satyaa u status, vahiadon and a minimum age or We are also greatly in favour of improving democracy in Cuba. We just disagree on the best method to achieve this No one should fool themselves over this Mr Rifkind opposed this on the ground that individual states should regulate entrance requirements. Europe's biggest building project which earned its nickname from its resemblance to a French cheese, boasts a chamber that makes the Commons look like a saloon bar.

    On Us completion next Easter it will offer acres of offices abundant enough to satisfy the most pampered legislator. However, these riches are an embarrassment for most of the MEPs. A partisan of the pro- Strasbourg minority, made up of the French and their German allies, she is talking about the Brussels building.

    The war of the competing seats has reached the level of scandal as costs have jumped by half in two years. MEPs were warned in May that they risked breaching the ceiling which fixes expenditure on their institution at 20 per cent of the Ell's administrative budget In John Major brokered the deal at the Edinburgh summit that year.

    Two yeans later, a French threat to block the arrival of MEPs from former East Germany extorted a parliamentary signature for the new Strasbourg building. Dr Karadzic, indicted twice for alleged genocide, says that he will not be a candidate but retains power through his leadership of the ruling party. The mam architect of the Dayton accord, Richard Holbrooke, is due in the region this week to lobby for Dr Karadzic's removal after France proposed empowering Nato peacekeeping troops in Bosnia to hunt down those indicted for war crimes.

    Bosnia's' Muslim-led central Government hinted at a pos-: He is expected to take over on July Reuter No Bud Dusseldorf Mcnth. Mr McVeigh, youthful and tall, smiled broadly as he savoured the crowded court.

    Dressed in a green shirt and pole chinos, he grinned at familiar faces in the public gallery and bobbed up and down on the bafts of his feet, like an athlete warming up. Mr Nichols, in a more sober blazer and open-necked pale shirt, remained composed, limiting himself to courteous handshakes with his defence lawyers. Mr Nichols listened intently to his lawyer. All this time Mr McVeigh, sitting at a separate table, craned his neck and picked his teeth.

    He had a stare not so much of menace as of excited interest in rhe events occurring around him. Judge Matsch, known for his tight discipline, entered court room C at 9am to find it filled with relatives of the dead, with the media and an astonishing array of legal counsel.

    The prosecution, led by wheelchair-bound Joseph Harizler. The defendants had five lawyers apiece and an additional 16 supporters on the floor of the court First to speak for Mr McVeigh was Jerri Marritt.

    She sought the dismissal of evidence on technicalities. Judge Matsch denied her request, as he did a an attempt by Mr Tigar to discredit the police. I can almost appredate the way those guys feel. Members of my family in the past were grand marshalls of the Ku Klux Klan and 1 have a young son who doesn't trust the federal Government. This is very hard for me. He insisted that as the EU is enlarged, the number of commissioners must not automatically be increased. Portugal and Brazil, proud of their common language and cultural links, saw a Portuguese-speaking grouping as offering a barrier to the rapid expansion of English and Spanish as international languages.

    In the former African colonies in particular, the future of Portuguese has been brought into question by the growing importance of English for trade and international commerce. Reuter age income plummeted by ar least a fifth between and Unemployment affects 35 million people in the industrialised world. In those countries, the average jobless rate was 8. Shadow Energy Minister, said: They will want to know if there was a cover-up by ministers to keep the privatisation on track.

    The report finds fault with the participation of Stephen LiUlechild. It says that PA the consulting body used by Offer, was "seen by many as being gagged by Offer, leading to a lack of trust and credibility in them within the industry". But a spokeswoman added: After the reopening of the distribution price review last year coincided with the sale of the second tranche of shares in National Power and Power- Gen. British Energy is highly exposed to changes in output, with a 1.

    The City is expected to play a waiting game with British Energy. If the share price stays weak and if the stations are given a dean bill of health then more buyers are expected to come in. BZW is authorised to intervene in the market for up to one month to stabilise the share price.

    President of the Board of Trade, disclosed that almost 98 per cent of applicants for British Energy shares had received an allocation. Some bJOO employees, or 94 per cent, applied for and received their requested allocation. Investors lose, page I Pennington, page 25 Name with a grievance: More than three thousand names gathered at the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank for a string of Lloyd's meetings, incfudtng the annual meeting and an extraordinary meeting. However, although final votes were still being counted at the time of going to press, the resolutions calling for measures to improve the offer were rejected by more than 80 per cent of those voting by proxy.

    Phase two, which was expected to start production within the next two years ana create jobs, is in greater danger and. Although the Tyneside plant is meant, in the long run. This is toe normal way to run in such a factory. In the first nine months of the year, the company's net income rose 18 per cent, to DM1. Mr Clarke said he believed that there was a long way to go before the economy was at risk of overheating.

    In his view, the economy was "still warming up from a much lower temperature". There was no point, he said, in having monetary policy any tighter than necessary. On Budget policy, the Chancellor acknowledged that any tax cuts not regarded as prudent by the financial markets could be penalised by pushing long-term interest rates up. He agreed that more people would suffer from higher rates than would benefit from a small cut in income taxes. Mr Clarke acknowledged that there had been an unexplained shortfall in tax receipts over toe past year, but said that no single explanation had so far convinced him.

    If we got it, we would double our business overnight without doubling our expenditures. If the BBC agrees to remain a captive client for several years, the price would go up.

    In advance of the main surveys from the Confederation of British Industry a week today and from the British Chambers of Commerce later this week. The findings point to an increase in overall construction output for the first time since the start of A net balance — those reporting higher output against those recording a fall — of 22 per cent of building firms suggests mat output is rising.

    BEC analysts said this suggested a quarter-on-quarter rise in output across the industry of 0. A balance of a fifth of all firms surveyed reported a rise in new orders. This is the first increase in over a year and a contrast to the balance of 10 per cent of firms reporting a fall three months ago.

    Almost half the firms surveyed believe that output will grow over the next 12 months, in contrast to three months ago. Small contractors are more pessimistic than large firms. Capacity utilisation is also up. The long-term downward trend In employment shows few signs of abating, with more jobs expected to be cut on top of the , lost since The collapse of Escom UK. Nick Dargan and Ralph Preece. A total of 74 stores were dosed last month. Esoom UK managers were said to have been confident of paying Barclays by the end of July, ahead of a planned management buyout.

    Barclays denied that it had acted prematurely. Their fate and the future of the Escom stores in the UK is now in the hands of the receivers. Thom EMI suggested yesterday. Pennington, page 25 New team: Young companies such as PowerGen—which has demonstrated an ability to innovate, to respond to market conditions, to match the world's best — should be allowed to grow and expand within the UK. The Government and the Labour Party were shying away from the difficult issue of the precise level of investment required, he said.

    Rank Xerox found ways to split Henkel Ireland, a Cork chemical company, was praised for reducing waste. Bedfordshire on 38 December Estate about C6. Cooney Durham died at Gsrungtron. Coventry on the sm day or August for me gram to me of a Justices Licence ndhortstag me to Ml by refafl.

    Ih O reduct ion Of the shire prmtftmi account of the above-named Company by U. ANY creditor or shareholder of me said Oomsaai deslriae to oppose me making of me Order for the confirmation of the said nMucuoin of mare capital and share premium account shook! Doted the 19th day of July.

    Yon should Claim and tome. Royal Courts of J notice. A copy of ihe said Petition win be fumuntd to any sock person requiring the same by the for the same. Ol7l rt oesus for Mes s rs. Lyonnais only resolved a legal dispute with Mr Kerkorian at the end of last year, over his sale of MGM in A final decision on the sale has been delayed by bid fine-tuning. News Carp also owns a 15 per cent stake in Seven Network.

    He bought it back the same year but sold to Giancario Paretti in Titan, which has since launch nw company, lodged Chancellor's judgment. But it said the BA-American, deal would put those two airlines "in a position to charge a premium for travel to and from the UK". Transport Secretary, will give his views on the alliance. The electronic system, switched on by Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor of tire Exchequer, will replace share certificates and stock transfer forms with electronic messages.

    Private investors do not have to use Crest. Earnings per shares were 1. Caledonian Land includes a portfolio of 25 properties, comprising industrial estates around Glasgow and Edinburgh. The largest property is tiie hectare acre Hillington estate, which represents 40 per cent of the portfolio by value. Vogt, which is based in Louisville. The second instalment of Commonwealth, due in November Calls, which cost 3p per unit above BTs national rate, can be re-routed to any terrestrial or mobile telephone.

    A total of five million shares and 3J2 million warrants have been placed at I2p per share. Self-assessment forms tax brainpower of volunteers THE Inland Revenue said yesterday that more than one third of the 5. The Revenue insisted that the results of the pilot were better than expected. Of the returns received. Of the completed returns.

    It added that when taxpayers started filling in returns for real, they would be reminded by advertising campaigns to file their returns on time. It said volunteers in the pilot scheme had not given problems with filling In the form as a reason far late filing. A second pilot scheme started in Southampton last April. Altogether 17, tax- payers are involved. Ruas as a dose at tradng yesterday. Instead, the usual sources were suggesting that it was all up to the market to put right.

    Not our fault if the City cant see the value of this fine investment, you know. There are good reasons, alas, why the patient may be beyond revival. The peculiar timing of this most difficult of privatisations mean that while the private investor may have bought a pig in a poke, the City was able to count its every bnstle. Much of the discount that the shares went to was a result of last week's shock shutdown of two reactors, which emphasised how unstable output, and Drofits, were.

    To be positive, the shares are now clearly cheap, if you believe the dividend pledges can be kept, the part-paid yielding as they do almost 19 per cent, or twice anything else in the sector.

    Tills should propel some kind of recovery', except that from the end of next week private shareholders will be able to sell.

    An unknown number will cut their losses and run. Retail investors in such cases tend to hang on like grim death until the price comes back to what they paid — look at how many are stiff in British Gas. But any sales could force the price lower again. This should save some trouble at the Public Accounts Committee a few months down the line. But do not expect too many boasts about the benefits to the taxpayer from the British Energy sale in the election manifesto.

    Private investors have votes mo. Those behind the controversial business club have set up its second incarnation, without the big drawback of the first, the fact that it was illegal. There is no way in creation that New Titan, or Titan International LLC as it is now named, could find itself on the London, main market, in its present form. The investment purpose is that some of the money received will go into other high-risk ventures, which hardly sounds reassuring. The rest, as before, win be used to recruit others into the scheme.

    Find new recruits and you make a killing. But once that supply of new recruits dries up. The pyramidal nature of the venture, with one new member signing up a load more and so on down the line, means this last generation must far outnumber those already part of the scheme. Anyone tempted to join New Titan as it tours the country must be certain that they are not part of that last generation, doomed to lose their money.

    Statistically, it is a gamble that the majority of those who take part must lose. Statistically, it is a mug's game. The death of yet another electrical retailer. It is a conclusion bard to dispute as one surveys the corpses of those who have tried. Escorn Itself was created out of the remains of Rumbelows. Clydesdale, the Scottish group, went bust in Much has been said about margins in electrical goods. But margins are the product of a free market and if they are out of line with market realities they should be self-correcting.

    Part of the problem is that today's gadgets are too reliable — they last too Jong before they need replacing. That is, the survivors will put the prices up. They say they wont But they will. That aid went to Siemens, now dithering over phase 2 of the same Tyneside factory because of a fall in the price of computer chips.

    Sandy Leitch, chief executive of the newly created umbrella group. He said that Eagle Star had already shed jobs and Allied Dunbar jobs in. Mr Leitch said that the new group's name underlined BATs commitment to both financial services and tobacco. Mr Leitch said yesterday; "The price of buying a banc- assurer is too high, as is the cost of maintaining high street branches.

    The group was also looking to grow in Asia and had applied for a licence to sell life products in China. Eagle Star' aims to increase the number of products that it sells by telephone.

    Cardcast announced last Tuesday that it had signed a contract to supply Credit Mutuel with "Hot Card" files, detailing credit cards stolen in the UK. CentreGold is due to launch 19 games over the next 12 months.

    There is no dividend. Mr Wood added that trading was in line with expectations during the first part of this year. The company is now enjoying a small drop in material prices, which will help margins. The total dividend was raised by 10 per cent, to 9J2p.

    Gearing was halved to 16 per cent, while free cashflow increased to 09 million. Ellis shares rose 2p to dose at 2S2p. A final dividend of 6 Jlp is payable on October 7.

    The paging company's other shareholders. The buyers are Janice FueUhart. Mercury, owned 80 per cent by Cable and Wireless, sold Mercury Paging, which has And if you do have to claim, you'll find our service, with a hour Claim Helpline, replacement car while yours is repaired, and all bills settled direct makes things less painful for all concerned. So, if you want all-round no-worries cover, and to pay less for it, you need Landmark ' can Express.

    If your insurance is due for renewal within 30 days, phone for a free quote today. Please give reference number PS34 UK mainland only. RTZ fears that it is now extremely unlikely to be able to fulfil a contract wth a leading Dutch customer that was to have been the key to the viability of the entire Century Zinc project. The Native Title Act gives Aboriginal groups the right to negotiate with the developer, and could take up to 14 months to work through.

    Registered Oita; PavtUon Dime. NOflhamp an Business Park. Member Companies of American international Group, Iftc. This was in spite of better than expected demand for shares from eager private investors. It later rallied to 95p, before ending at 94p. Private investors should lock the shares away for a year and then think again about what they want to do.

    In the event, it dived back below the 3. As one leading broker said: The market-makers are just keeping their heads down. The last thing they actually want to do is begin trading in shares.

    As an act of faith Electrabel has bought a l'z per cent stake in Scottish. The group provides hotel guests with information services via television. The price ended the day at 43p, a premium, of 7p.

    P N30 0 ir. I 85U D II'. IB 11 28 3T. S 14 19 MOT. IAt, 42 res', 48'. M IT, 27, D Irons — 4 54': Ob - 52 Tr, riTRf. Iff, P72SI 1 27 1 , 42 2C: O' lb to, UbfR'. The price ended 7p cheaper at 47Sp. Westminster fell 14p to p. Investors put everything on hold ahead of a busy week, that will see Eddie George, Governor of the Bank of England, give evidence to the Treasuiy Select Committee on the summer economic forecast, details of the next auction, and die PSBR numbers.

    US blue chips remained weaker in early trading. At midday, the Daw Jones industrial average was down to 5, And by expanding Threadneedle, BAT is addressing its lack of exposure to the [FA market BAT estimates it can cut costs by up to E50 millio n every year by amalgamating baric- office staff and computer networks. The strategy makes sense: Such a symbiosis is good for BAT. The latter launched a market raid, picking up 9 per cent but since then, things have not gone well, neither for Goldsborough shareholders, nor for Westminster.

    Several fund managers, clearly miffed by the I56p cash alternative were not prepared to suffer either a capital loss or Westminster paper. Those investors, accounting for 35 per cent of Goldsborough, are sticking with Goldsborough and last week several declared their intentions.

    However, margins on homecare are lowish. Private investors may wince at accepting the p cash offer, but nursing their Goldsborough shares is not a sound investment strategy and Westminster is only a weak alternative. Biotechnology to biotechnology companies. Therapeutic Antibodies, the company that uses sheep to develop antibodies for use in treating snakebite, was forced to cut its offer price yesterday, reducing the amount of money it hoped to raise.

    British Biotech, the doyen of the sector, is also suffering: British Biotech looks set for a soggy period and investors may wish to pass on their rights this time. Lihjlslaru Pac 21 '. MQ cumin 2 h'. Manh ft Mslnn 02'. I'd'- to, 23'- 34'. Or so it seemed. CresL the new settlement system, had been running faultlessly since -lam and the first deals had been logged.

    Minions were dispatched to the nearest store — a Safeways super- market directly below Crest'S office. Now they face the full weight of the Revenue.

    This is the same Mr Wilson who had in fact said last week tliaf he was stepping down as chairman and leaving the company. The board- room shake-up. Peter Owen, group chief executive, Bob Challens. Morag Preston Public sector puzzle casts shadow over jobs figures Philip Bassett on the contradictory data that has left Whitehall number cinnchers worried rrv Vi'.

    But behind the headline figures on the number of people out of work may lie further clues about a problem worrying Whitehall statisticians: And leaders of the Institute of Directors will -also argue that the UK's sotiaf costs are far too high. But larger, structural shifts, such as an apparent reverse in the shrinking size of the public sector, carry an underlying importance.

    Figures from the Treasury show public sector jjohs are in decline. In , when the UK workforce stood at Two decades later, with the workforce roughly constant, the private sector had declined to 17J million, while the public sector had increased to 71 million. Conservatives, appalled by this growth under the Labour administrations of the 60s and 70s, started hacking back the public sector. By , the results were apparent: The following two years saw the trend continue, so that by total jobs in the private sector stood at Public sector employment, meanwhile, was down to 5J million, a drop of 27 per cent on its level.

    So for, so dear. Some of this is straight headcount reduction: Some of it is a result of privatisation. With large bodies, such as BT. Public and private sector overall public sector employment In minions numbers Ml. From PubHe Private , universities, Autumn 6, But if the Treasury's figures seem to be telling a clear story, what is worrying Whitehall is a separate set of numbers which seems to be showing, in recent months at least, entirely the opposite.

    Since then, however, the public sector headcount has been on the up. The last two quarters have seen rises of Whitehall statisticians admit privately that at first they simply didn't believe the figures. Now satisfied that the LFS's figures are at least statistically right, they've been trying to find out what is going on.

    By gender, the detailed figures show a rough equivalence. At the same l y ate ,2? Over the 4 The Government produces two main forms of employment data. The second, the LFS figures, are a count of a sample of individuals at home. The two series have diverged embarrassingly in the past with each set telling a different story: Differences of definition may be part of the explanation.

    So, mo, may people's views about their own jobs, as measured by the LFS. Even so, analysts accept that such differences probably do not account for all or even most of the gap and more statistical work needs to be done. Before or after he next general election, public sector finances are and will be crucial. The CBI recognises the need for more priority to be given to public transport investment.

    But this should take place within an increased overall level of investment. Businesses across the UK have identified the need for urgent improvements across all transport modes.

    Developing facilities at airports and ports ' throughout the UK. The level of investment sought represents a 10 per cent increase on the high-water- mark year of We believe that this expenditure should be a high priority within public expenditure; it is more important to business competitiveness than tax cuts. But, sadly, it is politically convenient at the moment to underplay the need to invest Without that investment we will pay later through a lower quality of life.

    Through congestion inside and outside peak hours on stretches of the strategic road network. Not to mention die chances missed in creating jobs in the still depressed construction industry. Increased investment is a key to both more efficient business and a better quality of life. The sooner that point is readily understood Ity all parties the better. The sooner we then get on with finding new ways of paying for the investment we need, the more rapidly we can make the investments we need.

    I cannot, of course, reveal my source by name. All I am saying is that the economy is already enjoying a bigger fiscal stimulus thru exposed. Furthermore, there are many individuals and companies in Britain now paying substantially less in tax than Parliament had intended — and this, too, shonld be taken into account in designing future budgets.

    Let me give a small but telling example. A few weeks ago BAA. I phoned the BAA number and asked whether there was any restriction on the goods which i. BAA and the cross-channel femes are powerful lobbyists for dutyfree sales. So be grateful for the tax cuts the Treasury has banded out already: AdlchitaW TO 1. I8ix - ix igg PR0UR: Ciwva li; its Ooae fcr. Been to, IX - i 22? IF you hue any dodri. D2 - U Data Pat - 20 Ufafa m: K Stt hoisted - 3 40 Mh 3H ftrittne Br.

    Ban, ,3, Ortrim he 86 Fnay Ooq. Me 6p notooi IK! Our environment is unique, stimulating and rewarding, the atmosphere totally non- hierarchkaJ. Ideas and information flow freely. Our presence at the leading edge is renowned. The natural environment for a telecoms practice. Telecoms - the law of the future, focussed on the new, the developing but based on sound foundations. An area in which industry knowledge and expertise is of paramount importance. Our telecoms practice is strong, built on a solid and broad client base and complemented by our predominance across the full spectrum of multimedia.

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    Confid en tial five Candidates should have a stsoEg academic background and I experience in litigation, preferably based. Its success is founded on the outstanding reputation of its lawyers and a formidable international network of its own offices operating under a single partnership. It is unusual in having the strength in-depth to handle complex, precedent-setting transactions under English, US and, in many cases, local law without referring work to outside firms.

    Its long- established blue chip clientele includes leading global investment banks, major sponsors and borrowers. It has a well-established Asia network and now seeks two senior solicitors for its Hong Kong office where the firm wishes to expand an existing English law practice. There is a strong preference for a solicitor who is or has recently been a recognised practitioner in Hong Kong.

    Please ring David Woolfson office: E N T In addition to the two partnership positions, the firm has openings for two to five year qualified solicitors and senior assistant solicitors with corporate finance, capital markets or project finance experience gained with a recognised practice.

    There is tremendous potential for solicitors with a particular interest in Southeast Asia including Thailand, Singapore, Phillipines, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Vietnam where the firm is handling major work. More broadly, candidates interested in pursuing an international career will find this firm attractive.

    Salaries are at the top end of Hong Kong market rates. After A a the Chy. X tftatfs the case then this firm has the value added: This cop 10 taemationaJ Ann comes out way ahead and a move there could make the career of a lawyer with years' pqe In a mixture of domestic and intenaflonal com p eti t ion work.

    Singapore has taken over as die Asfen legal hoopoe. Then there's die work - thsmerthant bank is sanply unbeatable.

    Top 10 Gty fan an dfef rapid advancement; both in career and work terms, to campanyfcommercial lawyers with years' pqe and a gentm desire to work on the hugest projects.

    You will have at least 3 years' experience of securities re ined commercial faptioafciowledge of conputer fetation sofowrederinbte. Confidential fine An outstanding career opportunity has arisen within our client's Legal Department for a recently qualified lawyer who has up to three years relevant experience and who currently works for a financial institution or within private practice.

    Ideally, part of the relevant experience should have been gained within commercial banking. Prospective partner 1o bead and develop litigation department, preferably with own foDowbg. Assistant with PQE far general case load, oedtest p rosp ect s. It is a continuing source of frustration for surgeons who treat patients with serious face injuries that more offences are not recorded or investigated. Letters and articles in The Magistrate calling for the magistrate's resignation have been tempered, in the latest issue, by a letter from Mark Bunyan.

    He assumed that most were injured while breaking die law. Is it any part of the role of a health professional to prevent his or her patient being injured again by trying to get an offence investigated?

    It is impossible to justify lack of liaison in relation to child protection. To bring agencies together, I ve reforms. Illegal gun ownership is known to be a serious problem: All vic- guilty of speeding. Caribbean and Asian Lawyers' Group's new chairman. The group of lawyers and law students was commended recently under the Equal Opportunities Hardeep Nahal: Yet, strangely, it has taken Lord Hoffmann, a new taw lord, until this year to secure a mention.

    Richard FitzwiUinms, the editor, says: A new guide for sotititons thinking of taking a partnership suggests that they ask: Could you trust your potential partners? Services for this group of patients are rarely available, although psychological and social support is important. Health authorities and social services are now able to buy this support in the same way as, for example, chaplaincy services. It was not much better for the staff of Practical Law for Companies.

    But there is still much to gain by illuminating this dark corner of unrecorded crime. Lawyers will be the real winners T he European Court of Justice decided in the Francovich case in that a member state could be liable in damages for a breach of European law which caused loss to an individual. In three recent cases, the court has attempted to identify more precisely the circumstances in which damages may be awarded.

    But it has produced a confusing set of conflicting principles that pose more questions than they answer. In Francovich, the Italian Republic failed to implement a directive on the protection of employees on the insolvency of an employer. This statement of principle caused great concern to many member states.

    In March, the court decided two joined cases. In Brasserie du Picheur, a French brewing company established that a German law about tiie purity of beer breached Artide 30 of the EU treaty on free movement of goods. Tie court said that by contrast with Francovich. However, the court implied that damages would be easier to obtain when there is a breach of European Union law in a context where a specific obligation is imposed on a member state. The judgment in BT makes no sense other than on the basis that all directives confer a discretion on member states in some respects, even if not in respect of the provision which has been breached.

    But if that is the principle, it would conflict with the reasoning in Brasserie du Pecheur, 'in particular, its explanation of the Francovich decision. The problems have been exacerbated by the latest judgment of the court on damages, delivered in May. The United Kingdom acted in breach of Artide 34 of the treaty by banning the export of live animals to Spain because of concern about the conditions in Spanish slaughterhouses.

    O n an issue of fundamental importance to the community legal airier, the court has produced three recent judgments which cannot be reconciled, and from which it is impossible to derive a coherent statement of principle. At the forthcoming inter-governmental conference, the United Kingdom is entitled to point to this as one example there are others of the need for reform of tiie court's procedures.

    So long as the court continues to give one judgment of all the judges, and prohibits concurring and dissenting opinions, it will produce committee conclusions that evade difficult issues. The only beneficiaries will be lawyers.

    The Web site is accessed as hap:! These listings are available world wide through the Internet, free of charge, to any enquirer there is also a second version at our site in Atlanta, Georgia with all UK telephone numbers listed in USA direct dial format. There is no additional charge for this service: Succatsfcd c a nd td i f wSl he iwifdy Int eg rat ed hto x highly: Rrm has cxte leix Gtjr profile and is one of he Mr on g t a pcrfarmm faxaddyfartashfcSpri fa m Biday xnrfex altn t pro bl e m lor ouu fcfatrs of pa rtnershi p tattre.

    Cnrranc Instructions fncfade acting on mail raS and transportation proton s thrcuriiouL Bmoe and m a ri a ir p or t protects. Confidential fax Capsticks is a leader in health service law. We have a requirement for an able lawyer to join our commercial team as a deputy group leader. The work is mainly connected with facilitating joint ventures and other transactions between NHS hospitals and the private sector. You will be an important member of your clients' team, helping them to develop and implement their plans.

    The work is interesting, intellectually challenging and rewarding. You are likely to have a minimum of three years' varied experience in a strong commercial practice, be able to carry clients' confidence and have excellent drafting skills. Capsticks encourages a combination of individual responsibility and team work and the successful applicant can expect early partnership and a salary commensurate with City rates.

    With more than thirty years successful involvement with professional education, a first class national and international reputation and well established links with both professions and commerce, we offer LPC students: You may be hokting down a ob; you may be unemployed.

    A hundred factors determine toe answer to this question. No-one else can reefly advise you on the value, or rather the price, you put on yourself. Advice can be given, however, on the way you approach this problem. The flgure they menttw wd was too low. They negotiate salaries between employers end candidates every day ofthe weak. Equally, ti your figure was too high, they can edge it dawn. And no embarrassment Is caused to either side.

    Manchester NQSmkr lawyer to join highly successful, fast moving retail co. Must be commercially minded and able codes! Brussels Excellent opportunity for antixtious young commercial lawyer to join dynamic legal dept of successful iafl fast moving consumer goods em up a uy. Must have sound btsmeas sense md atjpy iraveL Good earner prospects.

    Vienna Exciting opportunity for English lawyer with c. Knowledge of Gennaa useful, but not essentiaL Financial Services: South East Lawyer with min of 5 yrs" financial services expee to provide legal siqipart to the busmen areas of major financial institution. London Sobror Ban with c. London Opportunity for Sotr with 1 -2 ya" post-qualification commercial p roperty expee to join established legal dept of well-known p ro p erty oo. Ideal as a first move into industry. Suki Bahra Partnership Positions Wa have been assisting partners seeking a career move far over 20 yeara now and are regubufy pfaefrig several partners each month.

    City London office of a leading provincial firm seeks year qualified solicitor for broad litigation including IT, banking and romance. City One of the few positions where only a part- folio wing required. Mix of commercial and property litigation. Hoi bom yr qnal City sofas seeking a different type of working cnvircunxnt would be of ntercstto this high quality median-sized firm with superb tax dept Pensions: Manchester Sept 96 quatifietfreceady qualified solicitor now soqght to assist partner in pensions team.

    Thames Valley Superb opening for comm prop sob rain 3 yrs' expee with marteung flair for leading firm. None more so than the Corporate and Commercial Law Department which has carved out a niche for itself and has received special recognition for advising dynamic bigh-rechnology companies. Recent work has included the listing of a company on the Alternative Investment Marker, and the handling of a takeover from an overseas bidder for an unquoted pic.

    Although the legal practice of choice for many companies, from local businesses to major organisations, our dienr is keen to expand their existing portfolio. Taylor Vinters have now put together an exceptional offer for a talented solicitor who has the credentials to influence the performance of their practice.

    Adding considerable weight ro this talented, multi-disciplinary team, you will look to develop a personal caseload of high-quality Corporate and Commercial work and contribute to key decisions as to the future direction ofthe department. This senior appointment within, the Cambridge legal market demands a highly accomplished individual with proven success and the ability to undertake an established caseload of joint ventures, MBOs, MBIs, development funding and relared matters.

    Just as important h die professional credibility to market Taylor Vimers' services to new clients and enhance their present reputation. The career prospects are excellent within this highly regarded department. Our dienr also offers a very artractive salary and benefits package which will reflect your importance to the firm.

    This is the offer, if you are interested, please call Rachel Green on days or on S2 evenings and weekends. Good track record essential. Highly attractive salaries on offer.

    Unrivalled pr ospects in a young department. Genuine prospects and good quality work. Excellent career move and good salary. Excellent move from a narrow specialist rale in a larger firm. Outstanding package and prospects. These are challenging international roles with generous packages. Large firm experience sought. Lots of responsibility and broad international workload. It is one of the fastest growing practices In Europe with an international reputation particu tarty in the fields of insurance, reinsurance and litigation.

    The scope for sharing back-office functions and marketing will grow. Like other reinsurance centres, the London market as a whole is having to adapt to the increased competitive pressures. The way the market oper- ates poses potential disad- vantages. The advantage is that, big risks - such as oil rigs - which no-one insurer could underwrite alone can be covered quickly and eas- ily.

    The disadvantage is that a fragmented market involves costly duplication with complex and detailed infnrmatfnn often having to be re-keyed into different computers. It also seems weakly placed when the trend internationally is towards consolidation and larger reinsurance groups.

    Lirma chairman, argues, however, the market -shahid not be seem as a collection of small operators. AH the sub- scription market is. Nevertheless there is wide- spread recognition that - lilta Lloyd's - the rest of the London Insurance market needs to rein back costa and remove duplication.

    Progress in developing electronic systems has been slower than expected. The conven- tional wisdom is that, rather than diminishing the role of a subscription market, investment in information technology will attract busi- ness into the City.

    A pre- mium will continue to be attached to the ability to transact business among a large number of operators In close physical proximity. After all, as Mari e-Louise Rossi, Lirma chief executive, says: Easy when you know how Collecting funds on reinsurance policies has become a headache for many insurers Following the troubled times of the late s and early , the. London market has sought and, to some extent, succeeded in improv- ing its operational effective- ness, especially its cash col- lections.

    Invariably settlements at this level provided problems such as a lack of detail when identifying those reinsurers who were actually paying claims.

    Inevitably this com- plicated the task of cash allo- cation. The fact that very cash flow and reduce bad market analysts have been few of the en m p a nipg that debts.

    Included Chancellor, Orion, tably, this is still not the case, and regulators and market analysts have been forced to reconsider the extent to which credit should be taken for ceded reinsurance. The improvements in col- lection techniques generally came too -late to avoid the nies when they are also cedants.

    Additionally, poten- tial time bar problems are Deficiencies exist in the traditional. The market's exposure to ' a broker-driven collections process has been increased by the number of broker insolvencies in the past 20 years. In some cases, brokers themselves have held cash for so long that they have eventually released it to their -own profit and loss accounts in the belief- that after six years the money becomes theirs by default. For that to happen illus- trates the complete reliance placed on a broker by axefaj- sured.

    We have seen instances where a bureau member has placed much of its reinsurance outside the London market and. Regret-" enced in the early s, when notable casualties included Chancellor, Orion, Charter Re and the Kwelm companies.

    The past 10 years have also seen a steady rise in the number of companies going into run-off. The number of commuta- tion deals being offered by such. The con- tinuing trend of UK run-offs deteriorating into insolvency means that creditors often prefer to accept- large dis- counts, believing that foods now are better than future dividends in a prospective insolvency. From our own experience as liquidators, provisional liquidators and scheme inevitable and the risk of- toaolvency greatly increased.

    We will look at your entire insolvent recoverable portfolio. For details please call: The important cases heard by the House of Lords earlier this year. Zi may be cynical. To conclude, the message is clear that the market is slowly recognising the importance of reinsurance collections. Conditions in the market remain difficult and. However, with, a positive collections strategy supported by the appropriate systems and a willingness, to communicate with brokers and reinsurers, much can be dope to allevi- ate collection problems.

    The reinsurance hunters; by Ralph Atkins collectors Companies in distress can call on the services of hunters to track down amounts due When a company experiences difficulties, there are always problems disentan g lin g the' 1 assets. The task is enormous. There are about , rein- surance policies involved in the project, underwritten by 5J reinsurers. It Is not dear how many of those reinsurance companies have gone out of business but Equitas envisages col- lecting substantial sums.

    It is not just the numbers involved that make the task bard. There are so many potential conflicts that have to be resolved. If, for instance, Equitas agrees to settle a claim early with a policy-holder, the impact , on different reinsurers may vary - and some might bene- fit while others have to make payments. As well as its own staff, Equitas is employing TO out- side organisations to help.

    Michael Crall, Equitas's chief executive, says: It is clear, how- ever, that we must not allow the pursuit of efficiency to jeopardise in any way the Interests of our reinsurers. For the last tour years, a less well-known organisa- tion, KMS, has been han- dling the mess left by the insolvent Kwelm insurance companies, subsidiaries of the failed London. The Kwelm companies went into provi- sional liquidation in But its experi- ence offers lessons for Equi- tas. KMS manag- ing director, says a big prob- lem is persuading some rein- surers to pay np.

    Because the Kwelm companies are insolvent, reinsurers regard the book as inherently unprofitable - and there is no chance of further busi- ness from their former cli- ents. This could become a diffi- culty for Equitas once the distinction between It and the still-trading Lloyd's mar- ket becomes clearer.

    And when reinsurance coverage is being disputed, the cash flow dries up- The answer is to have high quality staff, well briefed about reinsur- ers' liabilities.

    This is not always easy because often insurers have been thinly staffed and have relied on the Insurance brokers which supply them with business to keep records.

    You do have setbacks. Of course, the vol- ume of work will diminish gradually. But both Equitas and KMS will be alive to the opportunities for offering their services to those left looking after future insur- ance companies in distress - and building an their experi- ence as professional reinsur- ance hunters.

    The German - or better, the continental Euro- pean - reinsurance market is changing with a speed and power most insurers dared not dream of three years ago. The most noticeable sign of this change was the arrival of two US heavyweights.

    Xu November , the largest US reinsurer. General Re, took control of the second largest German reinsurer Cologne Re. But ERC did not take long tp strike back. In May , it bought Munich-based Frankona Re from the Gerltng insurance group, and the business and the name of Aachen Re, but not the company itself, from Aachen Munich: The coming of the Americans was -dearly the main event, but there were other moves, too.

    Not everyone believes this has hanged the German market to any great extent- Hans-Jfixgen Schiozler, chief- executive of Ger- many's and the world's largest reinsurer, Munich Re, said: In our opinion, these acquisitions will be noticeable much more in the international presence of the two US companies, rather than specifically in Germany. Our aim was to improve our position in the US reinsurance market and to broaden the geographical spread of our reinsurance portfolio. We want to combine our know-how in innovative markets such as finan- cial reinsurance and alternative markets with that , of a specialist in that area.

    Peter LQtke- Bomefeld, chief executive of Cologne Re, is experiencing three reactions from customers since the company was taken over by General Re. We will watch how this develops. Natu- rally some of our competitors have stressed that latter angle. There is also a considerable dif- ference in management culture.

    Mr Ltttke-Bornefeld can under- stand the worries. Can we still rely on our reinsurer in five years' time? This is the sort of question primary compa- nies have to ask themselves. And they are getting all that now. ERC Frankona - the name under which the group is now trading in Europe - could muster much more capacity and provide rein- surance on a scale not possible before.

    Enormous changes are taking place in the industry Wilhelm Zeller, who moved from Cologne Re' to become chief executive of Hannover Re on Jan- uary 1, has a different view. He believes that the German market has changed fundamen- tally. A German reinsurance buyer used to be able to choose from at least three segments, he said. And half of the first segment of the major companies has become American. That is why the market feels it needs a German alternative.

    Risk and portfolio analysis, and help with product design and tar- iff calculations are also needed - especially In the newly deregu- lated German market, where the insurers' associations used to carry out this task. Whatever their position on this Issue, all German insurers benefit from the fall in reinsurance prices.

    The new, enlarged reinsur- ance groups can only enjoy the benefits of their size if they write volume. This is one of the reasons for the present competitive strug- gle. That trend is only partly off- set by a growing awareness on the part of European reinsurers that they have to provide shareholder value, too.

    For primary insurers, the pres- ent low price level is a dou- ble-edged sword. It is true that they pay less for protection. But the high availability of reinsur- ance capacity is leading to fast- falling prices in industrial insur- ance lines, where most primary insurers pass on more than two- thirds of their business to reinsur- ers.

    And, in the long run, primary companies need financially strong reinsurers, able to perform much needed services. If they have the staying power, the newly-created groups stand a good chance in the market. After every major earthquake there is a lime for rebuilding. But in the business of ; specialized catastrophe treaty reinsurance, that rebuilding doesn't just happen.

    It was carefully planned and delivered to the world market by our experienced management and underwriting teams. SOREMA 's financial strength is deep-rooted and has been recently increased allowing us to provide our clients with even more capacity than before. Under- writing losses eat into the industry's capital and force a rise in premiums. If that cycle were to repeat itself in the US. Most of that change was due to addi- tions to unrealised invest- ment gains. But even without National Indemnity, last year's rise in the industry's surplus was well in excess of the average annual gain of 10 per cent or so seen so far in the s.

    In some corners of the reinsurance market, there has been a close link between higher capacity and lower premiums. The jump in catastrophe reinsurance premiums in the early s, for instance, was followed by declines of 15 per cant last year and 10 per cent for Perhaps fortunately for the reinsurers, however, few seem to think that the link between higher surpluses and lower premiums exists in so mechanical a form for the industry as a whole any- more.

    Much depends on the competitive dynamics in each particular market says Mr Bikind. The effect of that was to leave the US reinsurers with an overall combined ratio of In years when there are few disastrous losses - as has happened in the mids - reinsurers do better, though they remain more exposed to the big catastrophe.

    The recent Jump In capital surpluses has also contrib- uted to another notable trend In the industry: Consolidation remains one way to reduce the capital employed in the business, and to make that which remains work more effi- ciently.

    Together with the drive thw biggest reinsur- ers to build stronger trans- Atlantic links, that has helped lead to two big acqui- sitions in recent months: That leaves few obvious acquisition candi- dates for those reinsurers that manage their relation- ships with their customers directly - though the disc- tinction between the direct. Some of the companies that accept most of their business through brokers maintain increasingly close relationships with their cus- tomers, be says.

    Also, some reinsurers accept business through dif- ferent routes. So far, though, there have been few attempts to sell insurance risk to traditional bond mar- ket investors one of the only ones to date involved a private sale of securities in London by another US com- pany, American Interna- tional Group.

    Under the structure, a c ata strophic loss could have left holders of the securities facing a loss of their principal, as well as interest. The company suffered both from having too little time to sell its novel securities, as well as pricing, said one per- son who has followed its plans.

    Pew expect this to mark the last attempt to develop the capital markets as an alternative to the tra- ditional reinsurance busi- ness, however. In July last year, the World Trade Organisation interim agreement on finan- cial services was signed.

    In Asia, the drive for mem- bership of organisations such as the OECD has prompted liberalisation of traditionally restricted rein- surance markets. In the Arab world. Oman abolished iLs compulsory 30 per cent local reinsurance placement in There is also a count- er-current to the general trend nf liberalisation. But the new insur- ance law which come into force last October requires 20 per com of all re insurance to ho placed in China at the direction of tbe authorities I to PICC Reinsurance , prior- ity for domestic insurers in the remainder, and allows the authorities to prevent any insurer from engaging in reinsurance transactions abruad.

    In Vietnam, another new- ly-opened market full of potential, real competition is also developing, but the Vietnam National Reinsur- ance Co VinaRe , founded in , takes a compulsory 20 per cent cession of all rein- surance placements. The decision to establish national state-owned rein- surance companies is not surprising in these two coun- tries, where the communist governments are deeply committed to developing the market under firmly-con- trolled political conditions.

    More depressing for west- ern investors is India, where close to three years after the government-appointed Mal- taotra Commission recom- mended ending the monop- oly of the General Insurance Corporation of India, there has been little progress. The leading proponents of new national reinsurance companies are to be found in eastern Europe, and espe- cially the former Soviet Union FSU.

    With dozens of undercapitalised new insur- ers - in the case of Russia, thousands - reinsurance is required simply for con- sumer protection. In Bulgaria, a Bulgarian reinsurance company has been established by the state-owned Bulstrad and its client insurers to assume local reinsurance which Bul- strad already provides.

    In Poland, the government is a minority shareholder in Polish Re, along with Insur- ers and Polish Institutional investors. The Czech Republic and Hungary so far appear to be Immune from such develop- ments, which in any event are likely to have only a marginal effect upon rein- surance markets - in the absence of legal protection- ism - since the capital involved is small, and capac- ity therefore limited.

    At the same time, prospec- tive membership of the OECD led Poland to abolish its compulsory 20 per cent local reinsurance placement In March, having increased tbe figure from 10 per cent only in January. All the countries of the former Yugoslav Federal Republic have maintain pH their tradi- tional use of a local rein- surer with a legal right to handle all transactions with foreign markets. In Rus- sia, there has been a power- ful lobby within the government for a national reinsurer with similar legal- ly-established advantages for over three years.

    Whenever the local insurance industry thinks it lias killed off the proposal, it reappears. In Kazakhstan, where pro- posals for re-creation of an even more wide-ranging monopoly were buried by this year's new insurance decree, the idea was immedi- ately floated of restricting Instead the terms on which oil companies could insure.

    In Belarus, special permis- sion is required to reinsure abroad, and only strategic industries have the right to buy foreign exchange. Mea- sures proposed by the finance ministry to enable the insurance industry to gain access to such funds were vetoed. One is simply fear that huge west- ern insurers will swallow the market Another is national pride, tbe sentiment which saw many former colonies establish national reinsurers in the s and s as a fetish of economic indepen- dence.

    Unfortunately, new local insurers are thereby deprived of the opportunity of developing experience on Rio da Janeiro: Brazfl is about to aboSsh Rs reinsurance monopoly international reinsurance for themselves.

    They are forced to accommodate themselves to the often unsophisticated te rms on which tbe national reinsurer is prepared to offer cover. Receipts of claims pay- ments anij reinsurance com- missions are often ignored, and in most cases there is no statistical data to permit cal- culation of what the net reinsurance balance actually is.

    And if than were, the last five years have been rela- tively free of catastrophic losses. Another dan- ger of the simple ass oc iat io n between reinsurance and loss of foreign exchange is the temptation to. This was not an uncom- mon approach in Soviet times.

    The result may therefore be the worst of both worlds. A model system Since , cover. In a country with as diverse a climate and landscape as France, it is little surprise that natural. In a cul- ture which has long been proud of a tradition. Domesti- cally, it is nevertheless a sys- tem which is ibiiIw- constant review and subject to a num- ber of demands for reform. Following a series of natu- ral disasters triggering offi- cial inquiries ; during the s, severe flooding in the SaOne and Rh6ne valleys and in the south-west of France in finally pushed the government into passing radical legislation in tgfta.

    Until the law of July 13 that year, only same natural catastrophes Including storms, hail heavy enow were insured. Many others were excluded, on tbe grounds that their incidence was too common, and, the costs were too high since only those in high-risk areas would have bought policies.

    Since that time, everyone with insurance on posses- sions has been covered auto- matically by the system. Everyone pays premiums at the same tariffs: However, since a modification to the regime in August , storms have been excluded from the defi- nition.

    After this notification, claim a nt s have up to 10 days. Given tbe potentially high costs of such disasters, the law also gave insurers the possibility of reinsuring their risk, notably through the Calsse Centrals de Reas- surance, which offers unlim- ited cover, underwritten by the state - including cover for war risks.

    Insurers can also create tax-exempt provi- sions in anticipation of natu- ral catastrophe claims. To help with the adminis- tration of claims, French insurers have. Tbe French system is one of the few in the world- to' offer such wide-ranging cover for natural disasters without limits and through a single tariff across the coun- try. Elsewhere In Europe, several countries such as Denmark and Spain have a system involving the state, while others including the UK and Germany , offer. Even so, France has a strong advantage: FFrlQOba if there was an earthquake in Nice.

    In the same 12 -year period, 62 per. A further 30 pet cent of settlements were the result , of drought dr other disasters including FFr4. The r emaining 8 per. Perhaps most stg- - nlflcantly. The French Insurers prefer. As Geina, the agyy-initon of mutual. Yet just had F ERs in place ln Some steps have already been taken to improve the situation. No matter what the location, market sector, company or risk, its well-established network of expert correspondents and industry contacts brings you the hard information and condse accurate and timely analysis you need.

    Suite , 25 King Street West. The aim was to try to main- tain rapid growth. Mr Weinbach said the timetable fur coming for- ward with recommendations in September was. Tm going to post- pone that September meet- ing. I want to make sure that we have e ve r ythin g in place. Andersen has admitted there ore com- petitive tensions. Rather than a complete split, it is more Hkeiy Mr Weinbach will try to repli- cate the success of the split between Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting - which has been copied to some extent- by other Big Six firms.

    One scenario would see up to five firms, covering tax, audit. Information technol- ogy consulting, strategic consulting and outsourcing. This would allow the merger of competing parts of both existing firms. The complex- ity of this possible move might lie behind the post- ponement of the meeting. A five-way split of the Andersen organisation - which has nearly , staff and operates in more than SO countries - would cause upheaval and could j encounter severe resi st an ce.

    However, analysts say it needs broader appeal if it is to join the elite off US television. Fox Broadcasting from his previ- ous Job as head of sports. Mr Matoian's resignation was preceded as usual by persistent rumours. Raymond Snoddy and Andrew. Hold bas been subsumed' ixutostxv to. So argues Mr J ohann Rupert, chief executive of Richemont, the l u x u r y goods and tobacco group and chair- man of NetHold, the pay-, television group.

    The pain of developing dig- ital satellite television alone in. A partner with additional clout and cash flow was required. But mostly jt was the scale of investment, required to launch potentially hundreds of TV channels that NetHold found daunting. For Canal Plus, the deci- sion to acquire. NetHold offered the group increased mass, a larger subscriber base and better access to markets to Europe, particu- larly to central and eastern Europe.

    But whatever the strategic grounds for the. Mr Phihppe Douste-Blazy, French minis- ter of culture and a leading defender of the importance of a strong European TV industry in fara ryf us competition. The service is to scheduled to start at Christ- mas. The deal between NetHold and.

    As for Canal Pins. In spite of the" prospect of competi- tion. The deals have been done, the partnerships struck - although given the scale of some of the egos involved their permanence should never be taken for granted. But questions remain, notably whether people actu- ally want hundreds of chan- nels.

    Mr Rupert is convinced they do and points to the viewing habits of his own family as proof of this. The accusation is con- tained in an affidavit filed by Mr Friedland to response to recent court orders to the US and fiaparia which froze a third of the shares he. Diamond Fields Resources, by Inco. An Ontario court renewed the freeze last Friday pending Mr Fried- land's appeal.

    The impounded Inco shares represent the esti- mated cost of efforts by the US Environmental Protec- tion Agency to prevent toxic waste from the Suxxumtvihe gold mine reaching rivers. Mr Friedland was founder, and, for a time, chief execu- tive and controlling share- holder of Galactic Resources, a Vancouver-based company that developed Summitvflle.

    Galactic declared bank- ruptcy to late Bank ot China Dwtetemann 21 21 21 8 tnter-Condnental. Sfcne Darby 19 Compaq. Winterthur,, the Swiss insurer. But some analysts ques- tioned the sudden improve- ment in the results of the financial services. The group consolidated the bank's earnings from November 11, which it regards as the effective date of the acquisition. But the company it bought the hold- ing from, Datuk Keramat Holdings, has also consoli- dated the hank's earnings in its year to January 30 - meaning some earn trigs have been claimed by both groups.

    Analysts said if UMBCs earnings were consolidated from April, group pre-tax profits would have risen about 25 per cent, -rather than the 31 per cent reported.

    Inves- tors would have to wait for a ruling by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants, the professional body. The group offered an unchanged annual gross dividend of 21 cents. Sime Darby said its shares would be delisted from the London Stock Exchange from the close of business on November The company, which declined to comment on the results, did not give a , reason for the delisting. This Master Banker which by Franck Minim is one of a limited edition or ten.

    Perfect when you need to know the time in Dollars, Yen and Sterling. The figures, which have been brought forward by one month, will underline the precarious financial position of the Channel tunnel opera- tor , despite its increasing share of the cross-channel passenger market.

    The Anglo-French group, which has given itself until the end of this month to pro- duce an outline refinancing deal with its banks, is unlikely to report significant progress in the talks today. Negotiators say there is broad agreement on the structure of a settlement, however there are key issues to be resolved- The deal is thought likely to include an Initial debt-for- equity swap which would leave the hanks owning less than half of the equity.

    Another section of the debt is expected be refin- anced through the issue of convertible bonds, which the company can redeem if it meets certain revenue tar- gets.

    Any refinancing agree- ment would have to be approved by aU of the banks and by the group's shareholders. Passenger numbers have continued to rise over the summer, with the group now claiming a market share on tine Dover -Calais route of 44 per cent Sir Alastair is to stand down as co-chairman once a refinancing plan has been agreed with the banks.

    However, sales in the com- pany's stores are run- ning ahead of last year, and directors are confident it will survive, albeit in a sli mme d, down form. That would enable trading to resume In the company's shares which were suspended on June 25 at 69p. It is now clear that profits were seriously overstated in and , and that smaller mis-statements were made in and The problems arise from the treatment of rebates pro- vided by suppliers.

    But no steps can be taken to secure the future of the company until the full extent of the profits shortfall has been established. Talks are underway with 40 of Wickes's suppliers.

    That report will form the basis of an announcement to shareholders, and pave the way for the company to open talks with its bankers about a refinancing package. Efforts to recruit new directors to the board are already well advanced.

    Mr Bill Hoskins, formerly of Laporte. The company is also seek- ing non-executive directors with retail experience. Two could be appointed within weeks. Six months later, the former vice-chairman of BZW found himself landed with the job of orchestrating the rescue of Wickes. Mr Henry Sweetbaum, Wickes chairman and chief executive, resigned on June 26 after a stormy day-long board meeting to discuss dis- crepancies which had been uncovered in the company's accounts.

    Mr von Brentano, a non-executive, was elected to the chairman's seat. He had only two executive directors to assist Mr Stuart Straddling, Wickes finance director, and Mr Michael Corner, the head of adminis- tration and property. They have also recruited a new finance director, Mr Bill Hoskins, formerly of Laporte. Several approaches have been received from rival DIY chains interested in acquir- ing some or all of Wickes stores.

    But the directors are determined to avoid a fire sale at a knock-down price. Evidence to date suggests that the core UK chain will probably be sufficiently prof- itable.

    If that is the case, a large balance sheet write-down will be needed to account tor the profits shortfall. The bal- ance sheet will then have to be restored with a rights Issue. Credit lines will also have to be renegotiated with Barclays and NatWest, leaders of the company's b anking syndi- cate. But whether they do or not, the shareholders already have cause to be gratefol to a retired German banker and those within the company who have rallied to his cause. Principal Hotels, the Harrogate-based group, has joined the queue of hotel companies seeking a listing.

    Mr Lewis led a manage- ment buy-in of the group in , two years after the company went into receiver- ship. He said Principal needed capital to expand and John Lewis: He believed the group dif- fered from other hotel. Deutsche Morgan Grenfell is sponsor to the flo- tation. T he fund management industry,. Both firms are hugely embarrassed.. And the star system, which fund managamwii. The fund manager was until the s the poor. His role was to stump up the cash when a company decided to do a rights issue.

    The environ- ment at work was sedate and the pay lower. No lon- And these shareholders were more likely than before to be ftrqd managers: Fund m ana gemen t companies have tried to distinguish themselves in a crowded by a unique strat- egy, such as investing In fast growing technology stocks, as Peter Young's European Growth Trust did.

    In the s came a growing accep- tance that companies should be run in the interest, not -of manages or employees, but of shareholders.

    That is particu- larly true of retail investors, who piled into US mutual fluids and UK! But the actuarial consul- tants which advise pension funds on their fund manag- ers also focus on personali- ties because their research shows them that a new fund - manager often transforms the portfolio. In the past five years in the UK. For all the good reasons for a star system in fund -' management, there are increasingly evident draw- backs.

    Global Asset Management now bans' Its fund managers from any promo- Takeover Panel rules may be changed By Ross Tieman Takeover Panel rules may need to be amended so that marketmakers are obliged to disclose holdings of more than 1 per cent In bidding companies and their targets, believes the panel's director- general, Mr Alistair Defiles. Disclosure of holdings would improve the quality of information available to shareholders and make it impossible for corporate financiers and marketmak- ers in the same securities house to collude to assist a bidder.

    No such measures have yet been tabled. But the executive is conducting. SBC Warburg was acting ar advise- to Bentokfi.

    During the course of the bid, its marfcetmaktng arm sold a parcel' of 27m sbfcres, ' amounting to per cent of BET'S equity, to Salomon Brothers, which in turn sold 24m of them almost simulta- neously through ABN Amro - Hoare Govett to an associate company of the bidder. Until the transactions occurred, the existence of the stake was unknown.

    The Takeover code insists that such positions are not used to benefit a party with which another part of the same firm Is associated. But Mr Debtor believes that the best way to address concerns voiced by company directors about the impact would be to require market- makers bolding more than 1 per cent of the shares in a bidder or its target to dis- close their holdings.

    Interested parties may apply for a copy of the Information Memorandum which wffl be available, together wSh accompanying documentation, from one the addresses provided below against payment of GRD This postponement was decided in response to numerous requests from interested parties lor additional time in which to prepare their proposals. Informative material and evaluation enteria as wall as requirements regarding the language of the offers various elements am Included In the information Memorandum.

    OOO note In accordance wfth the terms and conditions of the Notes, notice is hereby given that for the Interest Period from 9th September, to 10th March, the Notes wifi carry sn Interest Rale of 6. Second, not all publicity is good publicity. He said he favoured Micron Technology while he had in feet sold shares in the company, alleged a lawsuit launched by Micron share- holders. Third, Hind managers tend to allow stars too much free- dom. Colin Armstrong, chief investment officer of Jardfne Fleming Investment Manage- ment, was almost completely unsupervtsed.

    His managers were loth to do anything that would upset the out- standing: Armstrong felt free to engage In personal account trading on a scale which was an open secret in Hong Kong, where he worked. And, fourth, the pressure to maintain a stellar reputa- tion can push, a fund man- ager over the edge. A stock- broker close to Mr Young explains why his investment strategy, and behaviour, became increasingly bizarre: When things start going against yon, it's another matter.

    There is massive pressure op these guys to perform. Peter has clearly been under a huge amount of strain. But it will be hard to rein it back. Reduced ma n ufa cturing costs will boost gross margins to well above 60 per cent, he calculates.

    Routers - used extensively within corpor a te networks - ensure data are transmitted efficiently between networks or remote offices and are one of the fastest growing segments of the network equipment and Internet market.

    Paul Taylor Digital targets business users Digital Equipment, which has been struggling to improve the performance of its personal computer operations, will today launch several new PCs and related products aimed at business users. The products include desktop models based on Intel's latest Pentium Pro microprocessors as well as new laptop computers.

    Without unfavourable currency movements, ft forecast a 'significant increase" In full-year profits for But ft waraedLfbe second-half growth rate was unlikely to equal that in the first half. It would continue to. Westfield saidit hsd decided to proceed independently, as axasult of changed market condltkau and the fact that Sydney airport would not be part of the first tranche.

    AGA added that tt r emained committed to pursuing toe first group of Mr Hafter plans to lodge appeals at the Zurich and Swiss federal appellate courts. BK Vision said Mr Hafter. Mr Wang is to be chairman of the holding company which will own toe bank. Morgan, its ffnanriwi adviser.

    However, Mr Viktor KHma. Several foreign banks were discouraged from bidding after it became dear that toe Austrian business establish- ment was keen to ensure control of Creditanstalt remained in Austrian Tfoniis- As a result, toe only public offer is from the crn mai t bid- ding consortium.

    It subsequently made another offer, but the details were never disci osed. The government has always made clear it wants to seD its entire stake for cash. Morgan, at toe govern m ent's request, estimated that its stake was worth about Sch a share, which could rise to about SchflIO a share if account was taken of the premium for control.

    First Austrian's decision to drop out of the consor- tium, because of a failure to agree with its partners on its future role, adds to the belief that the remaining consor- tium partners are unlikely to want to buy the entire stake. The Swedish company said toe pur ch ase of TeH. Financial details were not disclosed. Trygg predicted the market was -set to undergo extensive re structuri ng as financial services companies strove to cut overheads. It has cot costs and refocused on core operations in Wfe assurance, casualty insurance and financial services.

    The company, which is 70 per cent owned by VW. Out- put should increase to about Production should reach about , cars a year by , when the Octavia will have reached its targeted Mr Detlef Wlttig, Skoda ' 8 sales and marketing direc- tor, said. Felicia assem- bly will start this month at Minsk in Belarus and, from October, at Smolensk in Rus- sia. The two new ventures should assemble about 3, Felicias e ach under licence at full tilt next year.

    Mr Wittig said negotia- tions to start production were also at varying stages in India, Egypt and China. The Indian talks, with the Eicher group, could Involve output of up to 60, Feli- cias and Octavias a year, he said.

    Under the proposed changes, the nexus between ownership of a stake in the ASX and the ability to trade shares would be broken. Stockbrokers would simply be registered by the ASX - which wonld check their standing - while the exchange would be owned by, and answerable to, shareholders who might or might not be brokers. The Australian exchange is not toe first to demutu- alise, but it would be toe first to seek an active, liquid market in its shares - and possibly a listing on its own exchange if regulatory issues can be resolved.

    Demutualisation will be put to its members on October 18, and 75 per cent win need to be in favour for the idea to be put into practice. This would probably not happen until , given the need for legislation. Mr Bichard Humphry, managing director, said int e rest in the proposals had been international, with toe London Stock Exchange among those asking for copies of a detailed package circulated to members.

    Mr Newman argued that a corporatised exchange would be better placed to pursue collaborative arrangements within the Asian region. The disposal Is likely to be the last by the US healthcare giant, according to one per- son dose to the transaction.

    The deal continues, a string of buy-outs of US food businesses recently, includ- ing toe 2 bn purchase of. Barden by KoMberg Kravis Roberts. These transactions reflect the- generally strong cashflow of branded con- sumer goods companies, mwiriwg them an attractive target for debt-heavy buy- outs, ftnri tho large aiwmiit of money that has been attracted into leveraged US investment funds recently.

    The company, which was. The AHP foods group is In the midst of a recovery from a fall in sales during Its sales will reach fibn this y ear. B acks Muse said, repre- senting an increase of about a fifth from toe previous year. However, its generally mature brands have shown little overall increase In recent years.

    Mr Tom Hicks, a Hicks Muse founder, said the firm planned to expand the foods business again, both by developing its existing brands and buying new ones. Sales weakened in France but have been recovering since the be- ginning of the second half. In , Valeo will be dedicating FF 2. Operating margins for the year will enable these projects to be self-financed. Barring a downturn, Valeo should achieve its sales target of FF Though French equities lag behind their German equivalents, and economic growth - on a quarterly basis, at least - is similarly divergent, the bond markets continue to?

    Behind that belief lies, of course, the conviction that currency union is unstoppa- ble, at least for these two founding sponsors of Euro- pean union. The budgetary test still lies ahead, but the signs last week were unpromising.

    Preliminary GDP figures, which showed the economy shrinking in the second quarter, underlined the poor state of French confidence. Though consumer expendi- ture is holding up reason- ably well, business invest- ment is particularly weak.

    TO a British observer, the mood is uncannily like that which preceded sterling's enforced departure from the exchange rate mechanism of the European Monetary Sys- tem almost exactly four years ago. Business people, in France now as in Britain then, remain co mmit ted to the governments economic objectives. But they are vot- ing with their feet, or - more accurately - with their investment plans. The political stakes In France are far higher, for one thing: None the less, against this background, the French gov- ernment dare not Impose a draconian squeeze on gov- ernment spending and a sharp rises in tax receipts in order to meet the Maastricht criteria.

    Heineken's net profit In the same period last year was FI Weak sales growth in western Europe should be offset by healthy trends in Heineken's high-margin exports to the US, they said.

    Steady improvement is expected at the UK building products, security and fire protection group, which reports interim figures tomorrow. The tax plans for next year, rushed out last Thurs- day.

    But this Is largely offset by rises in other taxes. For the ftrmnrn r p l nl st l ry to be reduced to such sleight of hand a good 18 months before the Maastricht test must be passed underlines the hurdles that, lie ahead in meeting the criteria laid down in the treaty. And the apparent relative improvement in German growth prospects raise the stakes further. Any further widening in the gap between the.

    Meanwhile, investors in the French securities have one other thought to bear in mind. The disappearance of a bond-market- yield pre- mium over German bunds is partly a result of the heavy co mm itment to French gov- ernment securities ' by French insurance compa- wmmwM, wmmmm sr in its clothing division and its precision engineering operation, which supplies the mobile telephone mar- ket.

    Net income from recuihgoperdlons. Net Income from recurring opera- Aions. Using Hs world network of professional correspondents, this monthly newsletter provides you wRh comprehensive coverage of new developments in accountancy and their practical Impficatlons for your bus ness. IntenntikHiai Accounting Standards is a brand new Management Report which focuses on the business implications of uang IASs, as well as providng practical guidance on tfaeir use and inie c pietatiop, afr-ft-gtance annu l aries of IASs, comparisons, examples, analysis, and latest developments.

    For further Informatio n please contact: AIV i is mm-m — maim mmm ST'. The UK's largest life insurer Is on Wednesday expected to. Pru- dential's general insurance side is expected to have came under pressure from bad weather losses and com- petition. A dividend of 5. When the world's biggest mining com- pany announces half-year results on Thursday analysts expect adjusted earning s to be at least 20 per cent below last yen's m.

    Interim results an Thursday from the UK media and financial services company should give dearer dues on what sort of performer the Though insurance compa- nies will do weH out of man- aging the. The interim results an Thursday wDl be completely overshadowed by the final report at Ofgas's regulatory, review, which win. And that would- make the. A dividend increaseof 12 per cent to R6p.

    The China Securities Reg- ulatory Commissi an CSRC , which acts as a regulator for domestic securities markets and selects companies for listing abroad, is expected to come up with a list of between companies in the next few weeks which will be eligible for sale to foreign investors. This is the fourth year a group of Chinese companies will be selected for listing overseas - a process started in with nine companies and contin u ed by 22 compa- nies in Last year only seven companies were approved.

    However, investment bankers, jaded by their expe- rience of trying to list Chi- nese companies — which are on, average, trading at 30 per cent below - their offering price - are' approaching the batch, with caution. In China, local govern- ments and ministries com- pete to have companies they own Included in overseas listing batches - a mecha- nism which has meant politi- cal lobbying Is often more important in the selection process than consideration of what tot e r neft nnwi Inves- tors actually want to buy.

    The announcement of a new list of companies will however put pressure on- companies from the and batches - 14 of which hove not yet been listed - to come to market. Smaller companies - which will be listed exclu- sively in Hong Kong - will also continue to issue equity over the next three months. The first is likely to be Anhui Expressway, an infra- structure project company, being brought to market by Orosby Securities.

    In the first half of However, the winding down of the austerity programme has led to a degree of opti- mism on the part of Inves- tors that companies will have a chance to Improve their performance. Analysts hope the second'half will see an improvement. More significantly per- haps,, Chinese companies are more realistic about how much capital they can raise by listing. The yield on the Treasury year long band has risen by 30 basis points in the past two weeks. There are a few other blots on the horizon.

    Companies ' with disappointing results to. Prices worry cobalt industry Combating price volatility will be one of the principal themes of a three-day cobalt fndiiw try ftnrrteranrn bt gllllBg in New York today. This had been partly attri- buted, Macquarie said, to one, of. If adopted, producers fear cocoa demand could fall by , to The results season gathers pace toisweek, providing UK investors with an insight into the outlook for corporate earnings over the remainder of and early.

    Of course, the UK market can easily be distracted by news from abroad,. The year Treasury yield has Jumped back past 7 per cent, prompting' a rise in gilt yields. The countdown to the autumn budget begins in earnest with initial details due for release tomorrow, ahead of the official presen- tation on September Thanks parity to corporate profit news, shares prices last week largely ignored the shaky franc and disappoint- ing news about economic growth.

    Investors will be hoping that more of the same caw p re vai l twa time. Inflation figures for August are due on Friday. German bunds were wipre boosted by the rise In US non-farm payrolls in August. The DTB bund contract rose by 4 basis patois to 96J59 in late trade oh Friday ami d a generally bullish attitude among analysts. Forecasts for the domestic economy remain glum, with a few bright spots. In the second quarter the economy rebounded from its winter mim-recession, with.

    GDP up L5 per cent on the previous quarter, after two quarterly declines. This suggests the economy is recovering slowly within a narrow range of expectations , '. A statement about debt restructuring is widely expected from Eurotunnel when the Channel tunnel operator reports interims today. The budget, due an Sep- tember 17, is clearly the immediate key economic focus. The main concern for the company sector is fears of an increase in tobacco and fuel duties.

    But that wifi not be until the Federal Open Markets Committee!. September 24, meaning the US dollar is likely to remain soft. Instead, market interest this week will be oh,. Mid more details will emerge this. Perhaps more closely watched win be the reaction of the French trade unions. Thoughts of a repeat of last year's strikes.

    So for the reaction of the unions has been mixed, but one London analyst noted the lack of aggressive comment from' the French rail unions, the source of much disruption in Germany sees the final parliamentary vote on the budget on Friday, with a chance of further tax increases to allow it to pass under the 3 per cent budget deficit criteria for European monetary union under the Maastricht Treaty. Inflation data in the UK this week could attract some interest, especially the August retail price index to be published an Thursday.

    Company results remain thtn nn tVip gr ou nd. There are inte rims from Vendex tomorrow and HeJneken on Friday. ZURICH After a half-year reporting season that has, so for, largely foiled to live up to, admittedly high, expecta- tions, it is the turn of Nestl6 to step into the spotlight on Friday, writes Michael Mor- gan. Retail and transport stocks were out of sort last week, as were fmanrfaifl.

    Pharmaceu- ticals were mixed as Roche responded badly to a Merrill Lynch downgrade and fur- ther switching, particularly by US investors into the Novartis partners, Giba and Sandoz.

    Mr Frederick Hasslauer at Rank Sal Opp unham in Zur- Althoogh the Tokyo stock market last week reacted negatively to reports of a possible lower bouse election next month, some analysts point out that it would have minimal effects on economic policy and little impact on the financial markets. An election could disrupt approval of a supplementary budget in parliament.

    Although the immediate effect of a delay in an economic package would be negative on the stock market and positive on the bond market, postponing the relatively small supplementary budget is unlikely to have a big impact, say brokers. Pensioners are not an organised constituency and many are strong supporters of the LDP. They are unlikely to switch their vote simply because of a promise to lift interest rates. He warns, however, that details of the figures may be obscured by a change in Nes- t!

    Also sup- pressing investor appetite is speculation over corporate cash calls. Recent share placements have prompted concern about over-supply. Best bets among brokers suggest the benchmark Hang Seng Index may con- tinue to drift lower.

    Property stocks should move back into focus ahead of the results season starting later this month. Recently, investors have been slightly encouraged by hi gher than expected bids at government land auctions. In noma cases the rate is nominaL Marian rates are the average of buying and -. M 8W NW gm Bnqulnag om bm ,. Whenever things go wrong for Mexico - the recent rise in US bond yields, for example, or when guerrillas burst on to the scene - Mr Hussein comes to the rescue by doing some- thing dramatic.

    This triggers a rise in oil prices and show- ers windfall profits on Mexico, the world's third- largest oil producer. Whether or not the statue Is erected, the story under- lines bow important a favourable external environ- ment has been to Mexico's rapid economic turnround. In addition, a strong US economy has sucked in Mex- ican goods and contributed to export-led growth.

    He also praises Mr Ortiz's orthodox policy mix of tight credit and fiscal austerity, which, has gradually won back the confidence of for- eign investors and returned the economy to "stable and predictable equilibrium". These factors have already contributed to a strong rally in the stock market, which has risen 22 per cent in dol- lar terms this year.

    Most analysts share his bullish outlook, although some are worried about the impact of a widely-predicted rise in US interest rates on Mexico's economic recovery.

    They expect months of , i UP 20 per which 16 people died. This performance was supported by a buoyant oil and gas sector while the operating environment for chemicals was more difficult. This confirms our strategy of concentrating on the development of our core businesses.

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