Briefing

BTP goes on the acquisition trail

THE FINE chemicals group BTP, which helps manufacture the latest wonder drug Viagra, is on the acquisition trail again. Its chief executive, Steve Hannam, has just paid pounds 54m for Hexachemie of France and has purchased a string of other small businesses but says there are opportunities for more.

The company yesterday reported pre-tax profits before exceptionals, up 10 per cent at pounds 53.2m, while sales rose 8 per cent to pounds 438.8m. They would have been better but for the high pound and South-east Asian economic woes.

Investment column, page 23

Markets buoyed by

official figures

OFFICIAL FIGURES showing that British industry was technically not in recession last month was just one of the things keeping the financial markets treading water yesterday. The outcome of an informal G7 meeting and testimony from Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan (above) are awaited today, while the Chancellor and Governor of the Bank of England will give their Mansion House speeches tomorrow, page 21

Fraud prevention firm executives quit

THE CHIEF executive and finance director of Card Clear, a fraud prevention company, have been forced to resign after the discovery late last week that they misrepresented to the board the nature of payment, page 21

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