Asbestos-hit engineer needs a bid

CITY TALK

THE provisional refusal of the German Cartel Office to approve the offer by Britain's T&N to take over the German automotive parts maker, Kolbenschmidt, has revived hopes of a bid for T&N from its fellow engineer, GKN.

Both side deny talks, but the strong tip is that GKN will make an agreed bid of 220p within a month. The T&N price has languished at around 160p since the end of November, when Colin Hope, the chairman and chief executive, had to make a £100m provision against possible asbestos-related damages claims. Last month, Mr Hope boxed himself in by promising no rights issue or dividend. But at 160p, the shares yield 8.5 per cent, suggesting the market does not believe him. A rescue bid would be the best way out.

DO NOT be fooled by the splash due from Shell on Thursday. Fergus MacLeod, at NatWest Securities, reckons that the headline figure for net income will be almost double last year's £776m and that even after adjustments the rise will be a creditable 24 per cent.

The key, however, is simply a massive swing in the chemical business, from a £15m loss in the last quarter of 1993 to a £280m profit a year later. Mr MacLeod reckons that the 724p share price represents a reasonable trade-off between cyclical recovery (and Shell's belated cost-cutting efforts) on the one hand and the shares' high rating on the other.

Indeed the share price has hardly budged in response to the market's tribulations of the past year - a tribute to the shares' rock-solid following, in particular among investors on the European continent.

But BP has made excellent profits for followers of Citytalk over the past couple of years, and it retains a sense of urgency and momentum lacking in the smugger Anglo-Dutch giant. Stick with BP.

OVER the past few years the story of J Bibby, 80 per cent controlled by the South African giant, Barlow Rand, has been one of disaster, muddle and apparently only partial recovery. But the parent has a firm grip on its wayward child, now reduced to a series of well-placed businesses and agencies, largely in the material handling field.

Last year's results were overshadowed by a thorough write-off, but this year profits could motor. In particular, Bibby's biggest disaster area is coming right - Finanzauto, the Caterpillar distributor in Spain bought for £86m in 1992 only to lose £18m a year later, is set to make profits of more than £6.5m in the year to September 1995.

Because Bibby's shares have only a narrow market, at 87p they have recovered only modestly from the 49p low they reached last year, despite the bullish noises made at the AGM a few weeks ago. One for private investors, and even for widows and orphans.

THE market has been rather grudging in acknowledging that Brixton Estates has read the property market far more accurately than more glamorous rivals have done.

During the boom years, Brixton stuck to industrial buildings. In the last year, it has spent £123m from a well-timed rights issue to buy offices and factories, giving an average yield of 10.7 per cent.

Profits in the half year to June 1994 were 23 per cent up and brokers Charles Stanley are forecasting that earning per share for the full year will be only slightly diluted by the rights issue - down from 11.7p in 1993 to 10.9p.

Yet Brixton's shares are languishing at 168p and have lost their premium rating, even though tenants are steadily losing the incentives to which they had become accustomed during the depression. Nourishing.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test