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Fidelity Plans to Merge European Funds


Fidelity Investments of Boston is asking shareholders to approve a merger of three of its single-country funds into the $1.5 billion Fidelity Europe Fund. The $16 million Fidelity France Fund, the $ 59 million Fidelity Germany Fund and the $4 million Fidelity United Kingdom Fund will close to new investments as of April 19, pending shareholder approval. The mergers are expected to be completed by the end of July.

The single country funds' investment objectives are similar, according to the proxy statement filed March 22. But, the merger will give investors diversification beyond a single European country. By its current mandate, the Fidelity Europe Fund must invest at least 65 percent of its assets in the countries of Europe, which include 29 different countries. As of Oct. 31, 1999, the Fidelity Europe Fund's fiscal year-end, the fund had 60 percent of its assets invested within those three European countries.

The directors of the Fidelity Europe Fund voted on Feb. 17 to eliminate the fund's three percent front-end sales charge effective March 1. The holding period during which a one percent redemption fee is charged on the fund was also reduced from 90 days to 30 days.