Bid speculation boosts Ibstock

SHARES IN Ibstock, one of the UK's two largest producers of bricks, soared 36 per cent yesterday after the Austrian company Wienerberger, the world's largest brick maker, acquired a 29.8 per cent stake, fuelling speculation of a bid for the group.

The Austrian group said it would pay Brierley Investments Limited, the troubled New Zealand investment group, pounds 91.5m for the shares, a 50 per cent premium to yesterday's closing price.

Wienerberger said that the purchase would boost its market presence in Britain and the United States and added that it would like to work together with Ibstock's management "in the future". Ibstock shares ended the day up 16p at 60p.