City File: Will First Leisure woo two fat ladies?

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The Independent Online
THE CITY is convinced that First Leisure, the bowling, discos and seaside entertainment group, will do something about developing a new strategic area this week. But what will it do?

It could move into bingo, and there is strong talk it will gobble up Jasmine, which bought eight bingo halls from Rank two years ago. First Leisure is not known as an acquisitive company, but Jasmine could give it enough of a start to be able to develop bingo the way First Leisure has developed bowling alleys. Worries that the bowling boom has peaked have dampened enthusiasm for the company's shares. But Tuesday's half-year figures should show more than pounds 12m of pre-tax profits on the way to pounds 35m for the year, indicating why First Leisure deserves its premium rating.

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