Company News in Brief

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Aberdeen Petroleum, the oil independent, has launched a pounds 6.5m all-paper hostile bid for Brabant Resources, another minnow of the North Sea. Aberdeen, in which its rival Pittencrieff has amassed a 16 per cent stake, is offering 35 of its own shares for 10 in Brabant, valuing the target's at about 39.5p each. Aberdeen at present speaks for about 20 per cent in its target. The bidder's shares fell 1.25p to 11.25p yesterday.

Standard Platforms Holdings, the computer software and hardware supplier, sharply reduced pre-tax losses from pounds 471,000 to pounds 23,000 in the six months to 30 September on much improved turnover of pounds 1.9m ( pounds 849,000). It made a pounds 100,000 provision against losses it expects to incur in the sale of Docufile, its lossmaking US subsidiary. There is no dividend.

Singer & Friedlander, the merchant banker and property group, has agreed to buy Edgar Hamilton Group, an established Lloyds broker. It will buy 35 per cent initially for roughly pounds 2.75m and the rest over several years at a price linked to performance.