City File: Heading for a fall

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The Independent Online
POOR old Siebe. Probably the soundest of the market's engineering conglomerates, the company is heading if not for a fall, for one of those periods of 'consolidation' so dreaded by share price-conscious company chairmen.

The share price has risen by more than 70p to 465p since the company's half-year results in December. Figures for the full year, to be announced next Wednesday, should show a pounds 10m increase in pre-tax profits to around pounds 180m. They are likely to be accompanied by an increased dividend and a bullish chairman's statement. But the shares appear to be at the top of their price range. Worries about the pause in the recovery in the US, which accounts for more than half Siebe's business, and about the deepening recession in continental Europe - another third of sales - are likely to be enough to halt the progress of the shares.