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Market Report: Taking Stock

Is British Airways pondering the possibility of a car-hire bid? Stories are drifting around the market that the airline giant has its sights set on Avis Europe, the biggest car-rental group in Europe, which came to market nearly a year ago.

Since hitting a 126.5p low the shares have motored to reach a 187.5p peak, up 8.5p. BA and Avis already have links, including a five-year Heathrow deal.

Benson Crisps hardened 4p to 38.5p as it turned down a possible 40p a share offer, almost certainly from 17 per cent shareholder Knox D'Arcy.

The board, it would appear, wants at least 55p a share. Sudden departure of Malcolm Jones as chief executive increases speculation corporate action will engulf the crisp and snack group. Meantime profits jumped 26 per cent to pounds 2.6m.