SHARES IN Proteus International, the biotechnology tiddler, firmed 2p to 41.5p after the European Commission said that its test to check whether a cow died of BSE is the quickest on the market. The EC's accolade could soon be followed by a lucrative deal. Enfer Scientific, Proteus' project partner, is believed to be in talks with Sainsbury over the sale of the BSE kit. The tests cost around pounds 20 each and Proteus gets around pounds 4 for each one sold.
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THE INDUSTRIAL components maker Cirqual is believed to be inching closer to a bid. The company has been tight-lipped since announcing that it was in takeover talks last month. However, yesterday the shares jumped 13p to 228.5p amid rumours that an offer of more than 240p - valuing Cirqual at around pounds 70m - is on its way. The identity of the bidder is not known but dealers speculate that rivals L Gardner or Fenner could be interested.