Market Report: Spaniards are swooping for Salamander Energy


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The Independent Online

The Spaniards are swooping for Salamander Energy – will they succeed?

Both the Madrid-based energy giant Cepsa and Ophir Energy have been circling, but now a consortium led by Cepsa has pounced with a proposed offer of 121p a share and a further 24p a share if Salamander’s assets off Thailand come good.

Investors cheered the news, sending Salamander up 20.5p to 117p. The hope now is that Ophir, up 1.6p at 191.9p, will gazump Cepsa. Sources close to Ophir indicate it was caught off guard by the announcement. Watch this space.

Traders went into the weekend in a good mood as the FTSE 100 closed up 12.68 points at 6,648.13. Tesco rose 3.85p to 195p as another one-time sceptic backed the new chief. HSBC’s Dave McCarthy said Dave Lewis had “impressed” with the interim numbers and backed his turnaround strategy.

The hi-tech parts distributor Premier Farnell tumbled 15.8p to 164.1p as chief executive Laurence Bain warned of “softer market conditions in Asia and Europe”. That followed a similar warning of tough trading from sector mate Electrocomponents, off 1.7p at 204.8p, a day earlier.

News that the back-office services specialist Xchanging has lost out on an Australian payment processing contract sent the shares down 5.25p to 171.25p.

The march of Fitbug continues. The AIM-listed maker of health and fitness monitoring devices revealed that its new KiQPlan software will be included on Samsung’s digital health platform. Fitbug jumped 2.32p to 8.17p; just three weeks ago it was changing hands for 0.37p.

After cutting its holding in Quindell this week, Fidelity reduced its stake in another troubled AIM company, Blinkx. The investor reduced its holding in the online video advertising specialist from 5.48 per cent to 4.09 per cent, sending Blinkx falling 1.5p to 25.25p. 

The media marketing group Reach4Entertainment slipped 0.5p to 4.12p after it warned that two of its three divisions were likely to disappoint expectations in the second half of the year. However, the company said it was still on track to meet full-year forecasts.