Matthew Clark, the drinks distributor, made an agreed pounds 109m bid for Gaymer, the maker of Babycham. The takeover, to be partly financed by a pounds 65m rights issue, ends Gaymer's dream of independence after it was spun out from Allied Domecq in a management buyout two and a half years ago.
Bubble bursts, page 34
No gas price decision
British Gas said it had yet to decide on any price increases, in response to reports that it was set to raise standing charges for domestic consumers. 'No decisions have been made on prices and any decision would have to be approved by (industry regulator) Ofgas,' a spokeswoman said.
The Gas Consumers Council claimed standing charges might go up within weeks from pounds 36.68 to around pounds 45.
Pilkington, the glass maker, bought the outstanding 29 per cent of its Finnish float glass subsidiary Lahden Lasitehdas Oy for pounds 9m, paid for through the issue of 4.94 million Pilkington shares at 185p each.
The US long-distance telecoms carrier Sprint said it had opening up a virtual private network service in Britain aimed at offering multinational companies advanced telecommunications. It said FONselect VPN will offer caller identification and ring-back when-free facilities on an international basis.
Operators lose case
Three women telephone operators claiming compensation for repetitive strain injury have lost a three-week legal test case against BT. Judge Tom MacKean ruled against the damages claim, dashing the hopes of hundreds of other possible claimants. He said the women had failed to prove their posture at work was the cause.
TSB strike off
Industrial action due to take place tomorrow by TSB members of the finance union Bifu has been called off after the union accepted this year's pay award of 2 per cent across the board. Bifu said it won a number of safeguards on performance-related pay.
Eurotunnel has received an operating licence from the Anglo- French Intergovernmental Commission to start Eurostar services through the Channel Tunnel.
New York: Blue chips broke a three-day winning streak and closed slightly lower on profit- taking. The Dow Jones average was 1.68 points lower at 3,875.15.
Tokyo: The Nikkei average closed at its highest for a month, 20,089.72, up 268.26 points.
Hong Kong: Strong gains in Hongkong Telecom powered the Hang Seng index to a 170.03- point advance at 9,532.35.
Sydney: With investors failing to follow through Wall Street's overnight gains, the All Ordinaries eased one point to 2,002.6.
Bombay: Light trade left the index 8.65 points weaker at 4,414.6.
Johannesburg: A mild recovery in the gold price helped the overall index to 5,564, a gain of 39.
Paris: After losing ground in morning trade the market recovered, ending with the CAC-40 index just 0.88 lower at 1,918.14.
Frankfurt: Slow trade ahead of Sunday's general election carried the DAX up 6.51 to 2,077.57.
Zurich: Light profit-taking took the SPI down 2.07 to 1,700.88.
Milan: An early technical rally ran out of steam on political worries. The Mibtel index fell 80 points to 10,113.
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