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Fairey shares fall on takeover denial

FAIREY, the electronics group, yesterday quashed rumours that it was in takeover talks with a strongly-worded statement denying the suggestion.

Fairey shares fell 9p to 330p as the company said it was "not in any discussions which may lead to an offer for the company or which relate to any of the company's assets". The shares had risen sharply on Thursday afternoon on rumours that Fairey was in talks with a potential suitor.

Analysts said the speculation was prompted by comments made by the management of Thermo Electron - a large US group - during a conference call on Wednesday.

Thermo executives are believed to have told analysts they were preparing a bid for a European electronics company.

However, John Hatsopolous, Thermo's chief financial officer, ruled out the bid. "I was using some imaginary numbers as an example of how prices have come down and it might be easier for us to make an acquisition, and somebody must have misconstrued it," he said. He added that Thermo had "no bid in mind for anybody in Europe".

Like many of its peers in the manufacturing sector, shares in Fairey have plummeted in the past year as the group has suffered from the strength of sterling and overcapacity.

In January the company sold Fairey Hydraulics, its aerospace and defence businesses, to a venture capital-backed management buyout team for pounds 55m.