Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.



TELECOMS giant GEC - shedding its lead defence business in a shrinking European market, and renaming itself Marconi - was a leading market light after it said first-half profit rose 16 per cent, fuelled by acquisitions. Its shares rose 23 per cent last week, their biggest gain in nearly a year.

Chief executive George Simpson aims to double GEC's market value in five years by focusing on faster-growing communications businesses. GEC has spent more than $8bn (pounds 5bn) to buy phone equipment makers this year, fuelling an 88 per cent rise in sales at its communications unit.

"People are seeing good growth in telecoms and that's what's important going forward," said Andy Chambers, an analyst at SG Securities.