Company news in brief

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Superscape, the virtual reality group, saw its share price rocket by 162.5p to 565p following news of a deal with Microsoft. The deal involves the immediate use of Superscape's Web software in all of Microsoft's retail versions of its Internet Explorer Starter Kit. Microsoft will distribute the software to all new Windows 95 users. Superscape also reported an increase in half-year losses from pounds 1.75m to pounds 2.87m, and said full-year losses would be "consistent with plans to grow aggressively."

Dealers expect shares in the Fitness First healthclub group to record a premium of at least 10p on the 80p flotation price when dealings on the Alternative Investment Market begin today. Fitness, founded in 1992, was valued at pounds 22m by the private placing, which raised pounds 8m.

Avesco has acquired 49 per cent of Complete Communications, the TV production and post-production company for pounds 713,350. The stake has been acquired by buying Blindlink, which holds three share stakes in Complete for three venture capitalists. Complete, without detailing figures, said it had returned to the black in the first nine months of this year after losing money in the whole of 1995.

Shares in Wakebourne, the information technology services group, fell 4.5p to a five-year low of 16p after warning second-half results would fall well below expectations. Maintenance activities are being hit by aggressive price discounting by rivals. The CAD software divisions has also had a tough time although open systems and cabling have done well.

London and St Lawrence reported a rise in its net asset value from 187.74p to 192.42p in the year to September. Net revenue, after taxation, rose from pounds 1.9m to pounds 2.05m, giving earnings per share of 6.23p up from 5.96p. Total dividend is 6.24p.

Bourne End Properties has sold its freehold interest in the Magnet store in Guildford for pounds 4.15m to Harmsworth Pooled Property Unit Trust. The store is let on a lease expiring in 2014 at a passing rent of pounds 285,750 a year.

Eliza Tinsley plans to buy two engineering companies, Evenwood Engineering and GR Smithson, for up to pounds 5.52m and raise pounds 6.54m through a placing and open offer of shares at 110p each. Evenwood employs 170 staff and names Komatsu and JCB among its biggest customers for its fabricated assemblies and hydraulic tanks. Smithson has 190 employees, and makes medium weight pressings and welded sub-assemblies.

Glenchewton exchanged contracts to sell the freehold of the Hinds Head pub in Bray, Berkshire for pounds 450,000 cash. It will take a 25-year lease on the pub at pounds 45,000 a year, with an option to buy back the freehold following certain of the five-year rent reviews.

Brands Hatch Leisure, the motorsport venue promoter, announced the appointment yesterday of Sir Rodney Walker as non-executive chairman. Sir Rodney is chairman of the Sports Council of Great Britain. He is also the non-executive chairman of the Yorkshire Cable Group, Wakefield Trinity rugby league club and West Yorkshire Broadcasting.

Rolls-Royce is joining forces with Marubeni, the Japanese trading company, in a pact designed to boost sales opportunities for its commercial aero engines, especially in the Far East. The firms will co-operate on a range of activities, focusing on Rolls-Royce's Trent programme in which Marubeni becomes a risk and revenue sharing partner.