In Brief

Company News

WPP, the world's biggest advertising and marketing agency, said trading in the first quarter was ahead of last year, prompting analysts to upgrade profit forecasts. Revenues grew 13 per cent to pounds 390m in the three months to March, equivalent to like-for-like growth of 10 per cent, helping to lift gross profits by 13 per cent. The group, which owns J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather, said operating margins had continued to rise in line with the objective of increasing them by at least 1 percentage point a year. BZW is thought to have raised its full-year forecast from pounds 137m to pounds 144m, while house brokers Panmure Gordon moved their estimate up pounds 5m to pounds 145m.

Rentokil continued the attack on bid target BET, claiming that negative cash flow could force the embattled business services group into a rights issue to finance future growth. Currently visiting Scottish institutions, Rentokil said BET's cash flow before acquisitions had declined over the past four years and was negative in the past two. It questioned how it could finance the future growth on which its defence is based without cutting expenditure or raising money from a share issue or further borrowing. BET's shares dipped 1p to 201.5p, putting them just below Rentokil's pounds 3bn offer, now worth just short of 213p after the bidder's shares gained 1p at 353p.

Italian shares soared after the clear left-of-centre victory in Sunday's general election. The prospect of a stable government drove the MIB-30 index up 5.7 per cent, or 840 points, to 15,617. The lira reached a six- month high of 1,024.4 against the German mark, compared with Friday's close of 1,042.

Hamish McRae, page 22

McCain Foods is buying Everest Foods for pounds 28m, equal to 110p per share. Directors of Everest and their immediate family members have given irrevocable undertakings to accept the offer in respect of approximately 58.3 per cent of Everest's share capital.

Sega Enterprises said its joint venture, Game Works, with Dream Work, headed by film maker Steven Spielberg, and Seagram unit MCA will soon seek a listing on Nasdaq. The venture aims to have 100 amusement parks in the US in five years, starting with the first launch in Seattle in November.

Sears, the retail group which is expected to announce a sharp fall in profits today, is selling Hoogenbosch Beheer, its Dutch shoe retailing subsidiary, to a management-led team backed by CVC Capital Partners and CINVen. Net proceeds from the sale of the business and related freehold properties will total pounds 46.6m. It made pre-tax profits of pounds 1.4m in the year to 3 February.

Invesco has increased the amount of funds under management from pounds 53.8m at the end of 1995 to pounds 56.7bn in the three months to the March, reflecting market appreciation and new business.

Smiths Industries has bought acquired electrical conduit maker Adaptaflex and industrial ventilation maker Air Movement for a combined pounds 68.6m. The two privately owned companies were complementary to the existing industrial group activities in the UK, Continental Europe and the US, Smiths said. Adaptaflex made taxable profits of pounds 2.4m in the year to last June, while Air Movement made pounds 5.5m in the 12 months to March 1995.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

£16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf