Lucas motors ahead on speculation about US link

Lucas Industries, the vehicle components group, drove forward as the rest of the stock market fidgeted uneasily about its inability to score from the current outbreak of takeover fever.

In often busy trading, Lucas motored 34.5p, ending 25.5p higher at 233.5p, the best ever closing level.

The proposed link with the US group, Varity, created the excitement. Although the signs from the two were that some form of trading pact was being considered, the market took the view the talks signalled an attempt by Lucas to flush out any potential bidder.

It is seen as vulnerable following the pending departure of George Simpson, who steps down as chief executive in the autumn to move to the GEC giant.

Initially the US talks are aimed at forging a link between the Lucas and Varity car brake divisions. But there must be a possibility that they could be stretched further and result in a full merger. Varity is too small to buy Lucas and the pounds 1.5bn the UK group would have to find for the Americans could stretch its resources, although the sale of its aerospace division could help bridge the gap.

The Varity talks are being read as indicating that Lucas is now in play and it realises it lacks the necessary clout to be a major player in the world league. So a strategic alliance, possibly a full merger, looks more likely.

The US talks presumably mean that Lucas has given up on one its possible moves, its bid to buy a 30 per cent interest in Valeo, the French car components group. The stake has been put on the market by former Italian PM Carlo de Benedetti. Lucas was known to be interested and was sounding out the possibility of taking full control.

The car components group's display was in sharp contrast to most of the market, with the FT-SE 100 index off 28.6 points to 3,723, although the supporting FT-SE 250 index managed to return to winning ways with a 10.2 gain to 4,525.5.

Although many followers believe there is a good chance of an interest rate cut this month the continuing political uncertainty and another New York downturn inhibited sentiment.

The market has certainly experienced the takeover action many said would provoke an upsurge. Last week's insurance merger was followed by the expected US bid for Midlands Electricity and on a much smaller level Stanley Leisure, the bookie, said it was talking to quoted rival Gus Carter.

Midlands gained 10p to 433p on what is a generous bid; PowerGen, sitting on 21 per cent of Midlands but prevented from bidding by the Government, fell 8p to 549p.

National Grid was busily traded with a 32.8 million turnover printed, indicating, perhaps, that James Capel had got rid of some of the controversial shareholding it acquired last week. The price held at 198.5p.

The 11.5 per cent interest came from Hanson but its Middle Eastern ramifications prompted questions to be asked about the beneficial ownership.

The possibility that the remaining regionals will be picked off lifted them a few pence.

Manchester Utd greeted its Premiership triumph with a churlish 17p fall to 356p; Millwall's relegation left the shares 0.5p off at 2p. The shares were once more than 20p.

Harry Ramsden's, the fish and chip restaurant chain, continued its heady progress, climbing 53p to a 437p peak. The shares have risen 111p in a week. Whitbread, year's figures today, Rank Organisation and First Leisure are the leading names in the bid frame.

British Petroleum was uninspired by the strong oil price and encouraging results, falling 13p to 569p, and British Borneo, after a strong run, succumbed to profit taking, off 18p at 555p.

Ahead of a crucial presentation, British Biotech topped pounds 30, reaching 3,025p with a 77p gain. Chiroscience, with an pounds 11.6m loss, and a pounds 40.3m rights issue, gained 45p to 500p.

Steel Burrill Jones, the insurance broker, edged forward 2p to 47p as rumours surfaced that one of the bigger names in the industry would take advantage of the depressed price and mount a bid. The shares were 112p last August.

Strategem, the mini conglomerate, slumped 36p to 127p on disappointing profits and Hay & Robertson added 4p to 54p following its rugby deal.

Albrighton, the aggregates group, tumbled 4.5p to 7.5p. It is making a rescue cash call at 6p, raising approaching pounds 2m.

TAKING STOCK

Clifton Financial Associates, run by Stephen Barclay, is bringing its sixth company to market - Premiere Group, which is raising pounds 2.7m through the issue of shares at 133p. Dealings start on Monday. The company, with 19 employment agencies, was born out of Burns-Anderson, the services group once headed by famed trouble shooter Sir John Harvey-Jones. BA went into receivership and Robert Durston and Dorian Marks, Premiere's managing directors, acquired 15 of its recruitment branches.

rPan Andean, the Bolivian wonder share, fell 8p to 88p. An independent report on its oil developments by an industry researcher is thought to suggest that the part of the Charpare block so far examined could suggest a yield of 750 million barrels of recoverable oil.

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
news Sprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Charlotte Brontë, the English novelist, poet and the eldest of the three Bronte sisters who lived into adulthood, has been celebrated with a Google Doodle depicting her most famous novel, Jane Eyre.
arts + ents "Reader, they doodled her".

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
News
The troubled star is set to give fans the biggest insight into her life away from the headlines
peopleThe Mean Girls star’s life takes another sad turn
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Computer Science)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Compute...

C#.NET Delphi SQL Developer (C#,DELPHI,SQL)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET D...

VB.NET SQL Junior-Mid Level Developer (VB.NET,SQL,Excellent com

£25000 - £35000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET S...

Trade Support, Application Support, Operations Analyst, CRM MS

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: Trade Suppor...

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players