Company News in Brief

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The Independent Online
Birse Group made a pre-tax loss in the six months to the end of October of pounds 2.7m compared with a profit of pounds 1.8m in the previous first half. There is no interim dividend. Trading conditions in all areas of the construction industry have continued to be extremely harsh, Peter Birse, chairman, said.

Owners Abroad's chairman, Howard Klein, said the 'paltry level' of acceptances was a clear message from its shareholders that the Airtours offer 'grossly undervalued the company'. Airtours announced it had 0.37 per cent of the ordinary shares and 0.36 per cent of the convertible preference stock of Owners Abroad.

Croda has made patent applications for a discovery that may lead to a dietary management for multiple sclerosis. The product is an oil but completely different in composition to Lorenzo's Oil. Lorenzo's, developed by Croda, has proved successful in treating ALD, a rare disease in young boys. Clinical trials on the new product are planned to start later this year.