MARKET REPORT

Old takeover hopeful Fisons too expensive unless bid materialises

Takeover rumours have swirled around Fisons with relentless monotony since the drugs group ran into trouble in 1991.

It has probably become the stock market's favourite bid candidate, a bewhiskered old faithful that has experienced so many false dawns that many seasoned campaigners have given up any hope of a predator ever appearing.

But the shares refuse to lie down. In busy trading, and in a flat market, they jumped 7.5p to 172.5p, highest since the summer of 1993. In January, the shares bumped along at 105.5p.

Stuart Wallis, the group's third chief executive in three years, has undertaken a dramatic reshaping exercise. He has pulled the group back on course, but, at the same time, increased its vulnerability to a takeover swoop.

In the past month he has announced the sale of two troublesome divisions for £404m but huge write-offs devastated last year's trading figures, leaving a thunderous £483m loss. But the group should be back in the black this year; NatWest Securities is looking for £65m.

After sorting out the catalogue of disasters he inherited Mr Wallis has, in effect, admitted the group's days of independence could be numbered by saying he would consider offers for the core pharmaceutical arm.

Although it would, perhaps, be unwise after past disappointments to express confidence a bidder will this time materialise there is little doubt that, on trading considerations, the shares are too high

Zeneca, down 10p at 880p, was rumoured to be one possible bidder; another was Medeva which has moved ahead powerfully this month. Its shares were lowered 4p to 214p.

SmithKline Beecham ran into profit-taking after FDA approval for over- the-counter sales of its Tagamet drug, falling 13p to 502p.

Elsewhere, the stock market had a subdued session. The meeting of the American Federal Open Market Committee to discuss interest rates was an inhibiting influence. Once again an early advance was eliminated and the FT-SE 100 index finished 21.5 points down at 3,128.3.

Among blue chips, Inchcape recovered some of Monday's fall, improving 11p to 289p.

Nurdin & Peacock, the cash-and-carry group, jumped 12p to 183p as a disagreement with 14 per cent shareholder SHV surfaced. The secretive Dutch investment group wants to merge its Makro cash-and-carry chain with N&P. Bookers, the other big cash-and-carry operator, was pulled into the speculation, gaining 7p to 404p. It was argued that Nurdin could prefer Bookers to SHV.

Vickers, the engineering group, put on another 3p to 184p ahead of a meeting with analysts; the Granada analytical get-together left the shares 3p off at 539p. Northern Foods gave up 6p to 186p as several analysts suggested a switch into Unigate, firm at 379p.

T&N was stung by further asbestos claim worries, falling 7p to 151p; Vodafone, despite a sharp increase in US ADR shareholdings through the Bank of New York, fell 3p to 205.5p.

Next, the high street fashion retailer reporting figures today, held at 287p. Up to £110m is expected against £73.5m last time.

Smith New Court, the securities house, dipped 16p to 455p. Profits this year are forecast to emerge at £43m (down from £92.5m). But there are fears they could be even lower. Last week Smith surprised the market with staff cuts. ShareLink, the no-frills stockbroker which has admitted bid talks are on, gained a further 7p to 211p.

Jeyes, the disinfectant group, fell 19p to 145p after a £4.2m loss and the departure from the board of former chief executive Jimmy Moir.

Zetters, the pools group, continued to reflect the increasing competition from the National Lottery. The shares retreated 4.5p to 96p, lowest for more than two years.

Newcomer Expro International, an oil services group, ended at its placing price of 175p.

Coats Viyella, the textile group, dipped 4p to 190p. It has suffered a surprisingly high exceptional loss of £40m on the sale of its fabrics and yarns division to management. The loss will be included in today's results, already carrying a write-off of £10m on the carpet operation and £13m of reorganisation costs.

Printer Wace fell 14p to 232p. There is talk of a management buyout. Price cuts dulled electricities although waters ended a touch firmer.

Filtronic, a maker of mobile telephone components, fell 12p to 256p as the Fidelity fund management group, said it had sold 60,000 shares, reducing its interest to 7.86 per cent.

Black & Edgington, the marquee group, confirmed its modest move into drugs. It has paid £20,000 for options to develop two diabetic treatments. The shares edged ahead half-a-pence to 4.75p with Seaq printing a turnover topping 18 million.

Berkeley Business held at 6.5p as it disclosed its offer for Southern Business had been accepted by shareholders with 22.7 per cent of the shares.

But the Southern board jilted Berkeley, switching its allegiance to a counter-offer from Danka Business Systems.

Sherwood Computer Services, which covers the London insurance market and runs Citydeal, a share-dealing service, has recovered from past disasters and, with new contracts on the horizon, looks set to make headway. Mees Pierson, its stockbroker, is likely to lift its current year profit forecast to about £2.3m (from £2.1m) and suggests the shares should be near 190p. They are 131p.

CIA, the media buying group, eased 5p to 129p as co-founder Ian Payne, who lives in Spain, cut his links. Through Smith New Court he sold 1.7 million shares (about 4 per cent) at 125p. They were picked up by four institutions. Mr Payne launched CIA with chairman Chris Ingram in 1976. The company produced profits of £5.3m last year; about £6m is expected by Smith this year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
football
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

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all