Company News in Brief

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Friendly Hotels saw profits before tax rise to pounds 2.6m from pounds 374,000 because of property provisions and exceptional losses on the disposal of its restaurants and nursing homes in 1992. Operating profits increased 17 per cent to pounds 5.2m. Dividend is held at 5.7p with a scrip alternative.

CE Heath announced that it sold its 84.61 per cent interest in Cornwall & Stevens, the specialist agricultural risk broker based in the southern US, to Mutual Service Casualty Insurance Company of Minnesota for dollars 7.45m.

Bournemouth Water and West Hampshire Water have posted proposals to shareholders involving capitalisation issues to holders of ordinary shares of pounds 1 each and setting out the intention of the boards to apply to the London Stock Exchange for all the companies' listed shares and debenture stocks to be removed from the official list.

Gaskell's finance director and company secretary, J C Kay, has resigned after eight years with the company. Mr Kay is to pursue his career as finance director and company secretary of the privately owned TJH Group, which has interests in the property and leisure sectors.

Granada announced that its final offer for London Weekend Television closed with valid acceptances from 96.8 per cent of the shares to which it related. Granada now owns or has received valid acceptances in respect of 100.73 million LWT shares, representing 97.4 per cent of the issued ordinary share capital of LWT. The group said it expects shortly to serve notices on LWT shareholders who had not accepted the final offer.