A WEEK IN BUSINESS

Top of the form

Shares in electronic components group Unitech leapt 30 per cent to 671p after engineer Siebe snapped up a 25 per cent stake. Siebe is trying to negotiate an agreed bid, though Unitech is holding out for up to 750p.

Tail-ender

Wilson Connolly, the housebuilder, ended the week 9.5 per cent lower at 162p after reporting a worse-than-expected plunge in profits and sales. Unfortunately, 1995 was "yet another false dawn" for the housing market, it said.

Greasy pole (up)

Michael Dobson, of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, was named as successor to John Craven to sit on the all-powerful board of managing directors of parent Deutsche Bank.

Greasy pole (down)

Michael Hoffman resigned as chief executive of Thames Water as it wrote off pounds 95m to cover the cost of a disastrous foray into overseas contracting.

Nice little earner

Sir Richard Sykes, chief executive of the drugs group Glaxo Wellcome, received a package of pounds 2.15m in 1995. Martin Owen, head of NatWest's investment banking arm, overtook his boss Derek Wanless with pay of pounds 617,000.

Clinched

National Express, the bus operator, emerged as the surprise preferred bidder for the Gatwick Express rail franchise.

Jobs lost

Claremont Garments, one of Marks & Spencer's biggest clothing suppliers, is to cut 500 of its 6,000 British jobs after a profits fall last year.

Jobs gained

The European Commission was expected to approve pounds 72m worth of UK Government aid for a new Jaguar plant in Castle Bromwich in the Midlands. The funding will create 1,300 jobs so the company can manufacture its new X200 sports saloon.

Sound bite

"If that's the best the BET board can do, then we continue to wonder why BET does not recommend our offer." - Clive Thompson, chief executive of Rentokil, responding to BET's defence document, which forecast a hike in pre-tax profits of at least 28 per cent to pounds 142m.

U-turn

Labour started to soften its position on returning a privatised railway to public ownership. "We are no longer committed to ownership for ownership's sake," said one colleague of Tony Blair.

Under fire

Yorkshire Water may be losing more of its water through leaks than it has admitted - 36 per cent rather than 29 per cent - the National Rivers Authority told a public enquiry.

In the dock

Elizabeth Forsyth, former aide to the fugitive Polly Peck chief Asil Nadir, was convicted of handling pounds 400,000 of stolen money. She was remanded for pre-sentence reports.

Whoops!

Norwich Union accused some rival life assurers of skewing the profits paid on endowments to boost their rankings in league tables.

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