Takeover hopes trigger rush for Jupiter Tyndall scramble for Jup

The FT-SE 100 index rose 14 points to 3,142.3 and the FT-SE 250 index 5.6 to 3,421.8. Turnover was 359.3 million shares with 25,644 bargains struck.
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The long-awaited takeover bid for fund manager Jupiter Tyndall is thought to have been agreed and may appear today.

There was speculation agreement had at last been reached with Commerzbank, the German group, which is believed to have won the management's support.

Jupiter's shares are normally a narrow market. As trading ended it seemed impossible to buy stock, with at least one stockbroker complaining he had been unable to complete buying orders. The shares rose 7p to 402p with talk the bid will emerge at 425p, perhaps even 445p.

Jupiter, headed by John Duffield with the famed Leonard Licht as deputy chief, is thought to have won a handsome deal from the German bank. Takeover talks were revealed in December following a steady advance in the share price.

Besides Commerzbank, another German group, Dresdner, is said to have expressed interest. The Dutch ABM-Amro bank was also in the frame.

Another possibility discussed was a management buyout, but it was dropped once the extent of the Continental interest became apparent. The Jupiter team believe a European link will open new markets that should enhance the management's earning ability.

About 40 per cent of Jupiter's shares are owned by the management or related parties.

The group has £4.15bn under management following last year's shrewd takeover of Queen Anne's Gate Asset Management for up to £10m.

As the stock market awaited the Jupiter strike, it grew increasingly excited about the future of Fisons, the reshaped drugs group. The shares jumped another 7.5p to 180p with turnover put at 10.5 million shares.

Medeva and Zeneca remain the favourites to pounce although there was some talk about a US strike.

In the past two trading days Fisons, for long regarded as an outstanding bid candidate, has jumped 15p. The shares were 105.5p in January.

The rest of the market staged a dramatic rebound as New York powered ahead. Behind the US surge was a 14 per cent fall in new house sales in February, which reduced still further the pressure for higher interest rates.

At one time the FT-SE 100 index was down 17 points. A disappointing 1.24 times response to the £2bn government stocks auction had ruffled sentiment and pushed gilts lower.

But once New York's exuberance became known, inhibitions evaporated. By the close the index was sporting a 14-point gain at 3,142.3, with market men talking of further headway today.

New York cannot, of course, keep up its spectacular progress. The Dow Jones Average has already surged by more than 300 points this year. But many feel it has still further to run. SG Warburg, the securities house, is looking for a year-end level of 4,300.

Turnover, at 959.3 million, was the highest this year with bed-and-breakfast deals and buying for PEPs often overshadowing old-fashioned investment trading.

Among blue chips Guinness strengthened with the sudden appearance of French buyers said to have caught the market on the hop. The shares gained 14p to 460p; they have advanced 38.5p since results a week ago.

Building and related shares were firm, helped by the Blue Circle Industries results. BCI gained 10p to 294p and Redland, reporting today, rose 12p to 467p. Profits of £350m are expected against £278.9m, and there are suggestions the group will announce the sale of some of its French operations.

Tarmac improved 1.5p to 111.5p. It is thought to be planning to sell its brick interests into Ibstock Johnsen, unchanged at 81p, for cash and shares.

Among house-builders Barratt Developments gained 6p to 191p and Wilson (Connolly) 5p to 162p.

On the retail pitch there was unease over Lloyds Chemists. The shares fell 8p to 191p on talk of a bearish circular from a leading investment house. They started the month at 290p. Since then disappointing profits and a restructuring exercise, as well as the departure of one of the group's stockbrokers, have eroded sentiment.

Nurdin & Peacock added another 7p to 190p on the prospect of a takeover confrontation with the Dutch SHV group, with 14 per cent.

Kwik Save improved 14p to 555p on the results from near 30 per cent shareholder Dairy Farm.

Iceland jumped12p to 181p on further consideration of its results but Next, with figures up to expectations, fell 7p to 280p.

TSB, the banking group, was little changed at 238p. NatWest Securities has cut its profit forecast by £40m to £560m and moved its recommendation from add to hold.

Southern Business stuck at 69p, despite a market buying spree by bidder Danka Business Systems. It has picked up 10.1 per cent of Southern, responding to rival bidder Berkeley Business' claim to have acceptances of 22.7 per cent.

Electrocomponents, distributing electrical products, gained 11p to 524p on Henderson Crosthwaite support. The stockbroker sees profits of £83.5m this year and £96m next and analyst Patrick Hickey says the shares are a "superb long term investment".

The stockbroker Durlacher & Co is the latest recruit to the backwater 4.2 share market. Trading in the shares of its parent company, Financial Publications, started yesterday at 27.5p. The group publishes the Option Trader and produces an educational cassette course called Option Made Simple. FP hopes to graduate to the new Aims market.

Brown & Jackson, the Poundstretcher discount shops chain, is again attracting attention. The shares have managed to haul themselves from their 1.5p floor and are now 2.75p. But the market is waiting to see if the South African Pepkor group, which pumped in £56.2m in June, is reviving B&J's fortunes. The group lost £12.7 in the first half of last year.


Adwest's pre-tax profits surged to £6.2m (£3.9m) in six months to 31 December. EPS 5.4p (3.8p). The dividend is 2.3p (2.1p).

Year ended 31 December

Bourne End Properties climbed to £841,000 pre-tax profit (loss £55,000). EPS 1p (LPS 0.4p). Total dividend is 1.1p (1p).

Caird Group sharply reduced taxable losses from £26.5m to £986,000. LPS 1.72p (49.66p).

Cakebread Robey rose to £682,000 (£503,000) pre-tax profit. EPS 11.1p (8.3p). Dividend is 1p.

Capital Industries edged pre-tax profits ahead to £5m (£4.5m). EPS13.3p (12.6p). Total dividend is 4.6p (4.4p).

Chime Communications made £128,000 pre-tax profit (loss £1.2m). LPS 0.7p (LPS 18p). Total dividend is 0.8p.

Frost Group pumped pre-tax profits up to £10.8m (£7.6m). EPS 11.6p (9.5p). Total dividend is 5.9p (4.9p).

Grampian Holdings drove pre-tax profits up to £8.5m (£5.6m). EPS 8.73p (7.35p). Total dividend is 5.75p (5.5p).

Norman Hay cut taxable losses to £270,000 (£3.8m). LPS 1.8p (25.43p). No dividend.

Johnston Group climbed from £2.6m taxable loss to £5.4m pre-tax profit. EPS 31.7p (LPS 33.15p). Total dividend 10p (2p).

Johnston Press lifted pre-tax profits to £14.7m (£12.5m). EPS 7.95p. The total dividend is 2.01p (2p).

Portmeirion Potteries' pre-tax profits were £4.7m (£4.2m). EPS 30.6p. The total dividend is 10p (9p).

Princedale Group soared to £3.8m (£740,000) pre-tax profit. EPS 6.9p (1.9p). Total dividend is 0.5p (0.25p).

Six months to 31 January

Pressac Holdings doubled pre-tax profits to £1.4m (£684,000). EPS 3.1p (1.59p). Dividend is 0.9p (0.75p).

Prestwick Holdings made £411,000 pre-tax profit (loss £1.9m). EPS 0.41p (Lps 9.96p). Dividend is held at 3.62p.