Market Report: City warms to Yule tidings of takeover

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The Independent Online

Rubber medical gloves aren't usually an item that gets the pulse racing of your average City trader, but last night chemical maker Yule Catto & Co did just that.

The Essex based FTSE 250 group, which provides chemicals for products for the industrial, health and construction industries, was riding high on the back of bid rumours.

Yule, which gained 11 per cent on Tuesday as it updated the market on half-year results, saw its shares add another 4 per cent yesterday.

Profits were up 6.9 per cent to £56m, despite a fall in revenues, and chief executive Adrian Whitfield increased its interim dividend by 83 per cent.

This news cheered investors on Tuesday but yesterday whispers emerged that the company could be a bid target.

Names which were bandied about included pharmaceutical group Warner Chilcott and even the world's largest chemicals maker, BASF.

But the share price, despite rising 7p to 165p yesterday, has still not reached the level it was before a profits warning in June.

The FTSE 100 was lacklustre and lost 32.18 points to 5,743.5. Miners again led the fall on fears of a Chinese slowdown in growth and rocky metal prices.

Commodities giant Glencore was the FTSE 100's biggest faller, finishing down 15.5p to 368.5p on the news that Norway's Norges Bank is investing in Xstrata and opposes the now unlikely Glencore and Xstrata merger.

Glencore went ex-dividend, which was blamed for some of its fall. Xstrata lost 15.1p to 924.1p.

Flogging stuffy legal and scientific journals and a handful of trade magazines could be described as a dying art as the digital world continues its all-consuming grip on everyday life, but when it comes to publisher Reed Elsevier, scribes at JP Morgan Cazenove beg to differ.

Publishing is a tough game by anyone's standards but JP Morgan thinks Reed has "turned a corner."

New finance director Duncan Palmer "resolves uncertainty" the analyst said, and "there is now improving organic revenue growth and margins".

The Lexis Nexis to events group was the biggest riser on the FTSE 100, edging up 11p to 589p.

Among mid-caps, Lord Harris of Peckham's Carpetright topped the risers, gaining 30p to 670p.

The London black cab maker Manganese Bronze pulled over to the kerb to pick up a new shareholder in the form of Sanjiv Ahuja, former head of Orange in France, who has emerged as the owner of a 4.4 per cent stake with his wife. As speculation swirled over whether he is considering a bid for the troubled company, or whether it is a holding he intends to flip, shares in Manganese closed flat at 12.4p.

The company, which is 20 per cent owned by the Chinese car marker Geely Group, saw its shares lose a third of their value earlier this month when it admitted a £3.9m accounting and IT error and said it would have to delay its half-year results until next month.

Mr Ahuja, who was born in India, has experience of emerging markets and is currently chairman of African mobile phone company Eaton Towers.

Manganese makes cabs for the UK market but has been trying to grow its export business and so far has sold cars to China and Azerbaijan.

On Aim, Fijian gold mine developer Vatukoula Gold Mines has sold a stake to a Chinese investor called Xintai at a 60 per cent premium to the prevailing share price – giving the investor 17 per cent of the company with the chance to buy more. The share price glistered and climbed 5.3p to 37.5p.