Unitech turns out to be the winner in takeover bets


Shares of Unitech, the electronic components group, soared 173p to 688p as the stock market awaited the signalled takeover bid from Siebe.

The surge means that half of one of the market's favourite bets has turned out to be a winner. Unfortunately most speculators had ignored Unitech, opting for the other half of the two-way bet, Eurodisc Electron.

It all started when Elektrowatt, the Swiss group controlled by the Credit Suisse bank, acquired Landis & Gyr, an electronics group. To help meet the pounds 1bn outlay the Swiss decided to sell peripheral investments, including 29.4 per cent of Unitech and 42 per cent of Eurodisc, an electronic components company they helped put together last summer.

Much of the speculation swirled around Eurodisc, which seemed to be the more likely takeover target.

In the event, Unitech, which missed the speculative whirl, has become the bid target while Eurodisc still awaits a suitor. The activity was enough to lift Eurodisc 11p to 295p. It has been as high as 312p with the market talking of a bid in the region of 360p.

Unitech is likely to fall to Siebe, the engineer. Late on Friday it disclosed it had picked up 25 per cent and had options on the rest of the Swiss stake. Talks will now take place. Unitech, which controls Nemic Lambda, a Japanese power supply group, is thought to want any bid to include a cash alternative.

Some, such as Societe Generale Strauss Turnbull, expect any bid to be worth 750p; others hover around 650p. Siebe lost 18p to 826p.

The rest of the market moved ahead although trading was rather lacklustre. The FT-SE 100 index jumped 24.8 points to 3,669.6 with continuing takeover speculation and a firm New York opening the main influences. Dividend payments, representing 11.8 points, masked the strength of the advance.

Cable and Wireless, reflecting the potential BT interest, gained 9.5p to 485p. BT rose 4p to 351.5p. A Cable take-out price is the subject of intense debate. The group's overseas interests, including its controlling stake in Hongkong Telecom, cloud the issue. Lehman, the US securities house, puts the bid price between 570p and 670p.

Insurance shares were firm, largely on the back of Credit Lyonnaise Laing support. Banks continued to recover from last week's mauling prompted by the lending war.

GEC fell 5p to 359.5p as it denied reports of a pounds 5n deal with United Arab Emirates. It did confirm that Lucas Industries' chief executive, George Simpson, would succeed Lord Weinstock as managing director. Lucas, little changed at 192p, is now seen as vulnerable to a bid.

National Power and PowerGen, somewhat surprisingly, greeted a delay in the monopolies examination of their proposed moves into the regional electricity industry by moving ahead. NP rose 9.5p to 471p and PG 11.5p to 518p.

Allied Domecq, the retailing and spirits group, rebounded 10.5p to 491p after Friday's sell-off. Takeover hopes were said to be responsible for the recovery. United Biscuits, another group where a bid is seen as a possible solution to its problems, firmed 4p to 246p.

Zeneca, another takeover favourite, ended 8p lower at 1,375p after stripping out a near 25p dividend. Elsewhere on the drugs front, Stanford Rook gained 30p to 510p ahead of figures and SkyePharma was duly suspended at 9p to accommodate a major acquisition.

BAT Industries had a volatile session, despite a "clear the air" over its legal problems in the US. The shares ended 12p lower at 488p after hitting 482p. They were tormented by a sharp fall in the shares of Philip Morris, the US group unsettled by one of its executives giving evidence to the Food and Drug Administration.

NFC, the old National Freight Corporation, which has had a torrid time in recent years as a succession of profit warnings have devastated the shares, moved ahead 3p to 155p with NatWest Securities making positive noises. The shares, it said, could "be about to turn".

The day's profit warning was contributed by Rainford, an electrical equipment group, which slumped 92p to 282p.

A warning that write-downs could result in an $87m loss hit XCL, the oil exploration group, 3p to 16p. The shares were 102p in October.

Figures helped some shares higher. Pearson put on 7p to 664p; Doeflex, the chemical group, 20p to 238p and TT, a mini conglomerate, 18p to 311p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine