City File: Fisons rumours

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The Independent Online
FISONS, the struggling drugs group, has remained tight- lipped about how its interim dividend will shape up this week. The share price has suffered recently from speculation that the payout might be cut. But given relatively sound finances, a maintained dividend of 3.3p looks more likely.

A dismal half-year result is expected to fuel rumours that Fisons will not remain independent for much longer. Profits will dive from pounds 95m last year to around pounds 35m this time - a result that should not surprise the market, as the company issued a profit warning in June.

The share price might be buoyed at last week's level of about 178p because of continuing speculation that predators are on the prowl. Top of an extensive list are ICI and Boots.