Footsie Giants Face the Drop

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Byline: MICHAEL CLARK

WEST HAM, West Brom, Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers are not alone in fighting relegation from the Premier League. British Airways, engineers Invensys and GKN and insurer Royal & SunAlliance are battling to retain their positions in the top flight of blue-chip companies. But their fate may have already been sealed.

Next week, the 17-strong committee of "industry practitioners" known as the FTSE International Independence Advisory Committee meets to decide who will get the chop and who will be promoted to the top 100, enabling the latter to enjoy a big following of fans among City institutional investors.

The quarterly reshuffle looks a cutand-dried affair with engineer Invensys, now in 201st place, being relegated along with Royal & SunAlliance (128th), British Airways (119th) and probably GKN (111th).

Current members placed 111th or worse get the chop, to be replaced by those in 90th or better. The only challenger that falls into that category is water utility Kelda in 81st.

The next best-placed are Provident Financial in 91st, Foreign & Colonial (92nd) and Cable & Wireless (93rd).

The FTSE 100 consists of the top companies by stock market valuation which must be incorporated in the UK. Hence, Irish discount airline Ryanair will not be admitted despite being capitalised at almost u3 billion.

The reshuffle could deal a double blow to Lord Marshall, who chairs BA and Invensys. BA is mimicking the performance of West Brom in being relegated after one season - three months in FTSE terms.

It had been a member since floating in 1987 but was demoted last September after a collapse in its share price following 9. …