Fisons seeks advice to fight off bid

MAGNUS GRIMOND

Fisons is locked in talks with advisers SBC Warburg, NatWest Securities and Cazenove this weekend in an attempt to put together a defence to the unwanted pounds 1.7bn bid from Rhone-Poulenc Rorer.

Under Takeover Panel rules, the company has until a week on Monday to produce a document and the timetable is likely to go to the wire.

The extra time could allow the group to bring forward interim results, due on 12 September, and use them as the centrepiece of its defence.

The company is also thought to be close to sewing up a deal to sell its laboratory supplies business, which has been up for sale for some time.

But the indications are that Fisons is still struggling to find a white knight which would finally see off RPR, the US drugs arm of French chemicals group Rhone-Poulenc.

On Thursday, the German chemicals and pharmaceuticals group BASF, ruled itself out of the running for the British group and the indications are that Fisons' search for a saviour has yet to bear fruit.

The stock market's waning hopes for another bidder is reflected in the share price, which soared 71.5p to 264.5p after the bid was announced, but has since slipped back to 255.5p, up 0.5p yesterday.

The moves came as US analysts suggested that cost cuts of pounds 50m-pounds 200m could result from merging Fisons' US operations with those of RPR. The main area of overlap is in the two groups' salesforces, where job cuts are likely.

Fisons' 300-strong team compares with 600 involved in the respiratory area at RPR, although not all are involved in asthma allergy, which is the British group's main area of strength.

RPR refused to comment on likely cost savings, but observers suggest the final figure will be nearer the bottom end of the indicated range.

Meanwhile, Roche Holding, the giant Swiss drugs group, yesterday demonstrated the benefits of pharmaceutical mergers, reporting higher-than-expected profits on the back of last year's $5.3bn acquisition of Syntex of the US.

The group announced an 18 per cent rise in first-half net profits to Sfr1.91bn (pounds 1.02bn), although sales nudged ahead only 2 per cent to Sfr7.49bn. Analysts had been forecasting net profits only 10 to 15 per cent higher.

Roche initiated a restructuring programme aimed at slashing 5,000 jobs across the group as part of a restructuring of its main drug division after the Syntex merger. This helped to boost operating margins from 21 to 24 per cent in the first half.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress among those on 'master list' of massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
News
i100
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Business Development Manager / Media Sales Exec

£28 - 32k + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...

C# .NET Developer (PHP, Ruby, Open Source, Blogs)

£40000 - £70000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# .NET ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor