Seton awakes from its slumbers

Seton Healthcare has been stuck in the doldrums since February, with its shares off 41p from a peak of 499p. The company, however, has recently emerged from a flurry of corporate activity. A placing to raise pounds 23.5m will be used to buy DePuy International for pounds 21.7m.

DePuy, which will be renamed ThackrayCare, sells incontinence products. In the UK, it is the market leader in urinary incontinence sheaths sold on prescription. It adds to Seton's existing business in this area, Simpla Plastics, bought in September 1995. House broker BZW reckons that, in total, incontinence saleswill amount to pounds 20m.

A fine set of results saw sales breach the pounds 100m barrier, coming in at pounds 102.86m - up 21 per cent, with pre-tax profits of pounds 19.81m representing a 21 per cent jump. BZW rates the shares a buy.

Peace is said to have broken out in the great Lottery war, but it could be only a temporary respite. Although the market is dismissive of the value of the Lottery to the UK shareholders - Cadbury Schweppes, De La Rue and Racal - Camelot has a hard time ahead if it is to come out of this debacle unscathed. It has already lost up to pounds 24m in revenues, paying back interest on the shortfall fund to good causes. The value of the stakes, especially to Racal and De La Rue, is not to be sneezed at, whatever utterances Racal's Sir Ernest Harrison may have made about not wanting to be associated with a not-for-profits lottery. The companies have done very well on their lottery investment; it seems short-sighted not to acknowledge that.

The big news in the stock market, however - despite what one may think about the Bank of England's decision to raise interest rates - was Cable & Wireless. After months of speculation, the company eventually confirmed it was to sell off a stake in its Hong Kong Telecom business to the Chinese.

Under the deal China Telecom, a state-owned company, buys a 5.5 per cent stake for pounds 726m. Thereafter, Cable & Wireless will transfer shares at some future date until China Telecom becomes an equal shareholder.

Cable & Wireless stormed ahead, closing up 74.5p at 572p.

In contrast, Railtrack's success is taking its toll on the company after the objections of the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, to its recent rise in profits.

The shares closed the week at 647.5p, down 10.5p on Friday.

However, it is too soon to suppose that Railtrack will be forced on to the backfoot as a result of the Government's interventionist tendencies. Although the shares have come a long way, the long-term prospects still look enticing.

BTR is another company caught in a downswing, but for very different reasons. The share price has hit a new low of 188.5p, its lowest level in five years. There are rumours of mounting pressure for some boardroom changes, although quite what these could achieve is a moot point.

BTR is like one of those unwieldy tankers; turning it around is going to take time, whoever is in charge. Any shareholder who fails to recognise that fact should sell now. But yet more change is unlikely to hasten its recovery.

On directors' share sales and purchases, the retailer Allders had a positive nod from J Pattison, who bought 5,528 shares for his own account at 217p each. The deal takes his holding to 15,000, a sizeable addition.

Directors also waded into the market at the tobacco giant Gallaher Group, with total purchases of 171,000 shares at prices ranging from 272.5p to 280p. The management appears to be unfazed by the prospect of a higher duty on cigarettes, or an end to advertising in the UK.

Of the sales, Dr Chris Evans' decision to reduce his holding in Chiroscience by 800,000 shares to 2.535 million may be the most worrying for the market.

M&G Group, the fund manager, has been going through a tricky time and its woes may be reflected in the decision of director Richard Hughes to sell 1,191 shares at 1,280p each. His stake is reduced to 27,384 shares. M&G is renowned as the value investor par excellence in UK fund management circles.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin