A WEEK IN BUSINESS

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Yorkshire Electricity sparkled as takeover fever returned to the sector with reports that New Jersey-based General Public Utilities and Houston Industries are stalking it. Estimates that a bid could come in at pounds 8 a share helped push its price up 10.9 per cent to 752p.

Tail-ender

Celltech, a leading biotechnology player, helped drag down its rivals when it announced it had abandoned research on CDP 840, an asthma drug tipped to replace Glaxo's Ventolin. Its shares dropped 27.7 per cent to 475p.

Greasy pole (up)

Derek Higgs is to move from managing director of investment bank SBC Warburg to head Prudential Portfolio Managers, the UK's biggest institutional investor.

Greasy pole (down)

Bill Fraser, managing director of South West Water, stepped down following criticism of the privatised utility's charges, quality and supplies. He will still get paid for a year as a consultant.

Nice little earner

Some 3 million investors and borrowers at Alliance & Leicester will share in payouts estimated to be worth about pounds 800 each when the building society floats and becomes a bank early in 1997.

Bum deal

Shareholders in Quality Software Products demanded the head of chairman Alan Mordain for issuing a profits warning just 10 weeks after a pounds 15m rights issue.

Banana skin

Xinchang, a Chinese brewery, was forced to stop production of its Buddha beer and pay 5,000 yuan (pounds 400) compensation after local monks at the Dafo monastery in Zheijiang province took it to court for using their logo.

U-turn

Private health care group PPP is poised to drop its provident status tomorrow to become a public limited company.

M'learned friends

Four Canadian banks teamed up to take Clifford Chance, Britain's largest firm of solicitors, to court claiming C$1.3bn (pounds 610m) over its advice on financing for the Canary Wharf project in London's Docklands.

Under fire

Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in Bangalore were ransacked by farmers, who say the chain is selling un-Indian food.

In the dock

John Elliott, former head of Elders IXL, the Australian brewing and agri- business group, went on trial in Melbourne on charges of stealing A$66.5m (pounds 32.7m).

Soundbite

Baroness Thatcher missed "the blindingly obvious" said Sir Alastair Morton, attacking government policy on his company Eurotunnel.

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