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Ennstone, the building materials group formerly known as Albrighton, has increased its power at Bruntcliffe Aggregates where it is holding talks but has still to make a bid. Yesterday it picked up, in effect, another 4.28 per cent of Bruntcliffe on a share exchange formula. Providing a higher bid does not materialise, the vendors of the shares pledge to accept an offer Ennstone has signalled and may make. The deal lifts Ennstone's stake to 13.66 per cent. Bruntcliffe hardened to 39.5p.

Stockbroker Redmayne Bentley likes Prudential Corporation. "We see good growth potential and limited downside," it says. The Pru, likely to unlock its pounds 5bn of orphan funds soon, is expected to produce profits of pounds 893m this year and pounds 938m next. Shares rose 8.5p to 602p.