Company News in Brief

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The Independent Online
Surrey Group, the licensed bookmaker, sharply reduced pre-tax losses from pounds 632,000 to pounds 57,000 in the six months to 30 September despite a fall in turnover to pounds 20.9m (pounds 28.2m). The loss per share was cut to 0.04p (0.49p). There is no dividend.

Hicking Pentecost has bought Alan Paine, a 96-year-old natural fibres knitwear manufacturing business based at Godalming, Surrey, from its administrative receivers for a little under pounds 1.16m. A new subsidiary has been formed to carry on the business of men's and women's knitwear. The newly formed subsidiary will be 25 per cent owned by the management team.

Baillie Gifford Technology is to buy the cable TV and construction businesses of J P Fitzpatrick for pounds 8.75m, to be financed with pounds 4.7m of loan notes and pounds 110,000 in cash. J P Fitzpatrick (Cable TV) is one of the main specialist layers of cable television duct in the UK and provides services directly to many leading cable franchise holders, while J P Fitzpatrick Construction provides cabling services to the electricity supply industry. Baillie Gifford also announced a three-for-two rights issue of 33.3 million shares priced at 10p each to raise pounds 3.33m. It also announced a placing of 48 million shares priced at 10p to raise pounds 4.8m.

Ibstock Johnsen, the building materials group, has sold 20 per cent of the shares in its Portuguese subsidiary, Celulose do Caima, reducing its stake to 56.3 per cent. Ibstock expects to receive about pounds 7.9m for the shares.