Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Galen Biggest Faller as Takeover Bid Talks Fail; Market Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Galen Biggest Faller as Takeover Bid Talks Fail; Market Report

Article excerpt


WOMEN'S healthcare supplier Galen Holdings was the biggest casualty in the stock market today, tumbling 1281/2p, or 18%, to 5761/2p and leaving founder and chairman Dr Allen McClay nursing a loss of almost [pounds sterling]1 million.

McClay is reputed to be Ireland's sixth richest man but even he must be smarting from the loss of his investment in the company following the breakdown of bid talks, believed to be with Barr Laboratories.

On Friday, Galen shares surged on talk that either Johnson & Johnson of the US or Akzo Nobel of the Netherlands would stick in their own bids for the the Northern Irish company.

McClay moved in at the top of the market and bought an extra 700,000, worth almost [pounds sterling]5 million, at 7101/2p. That stretched his total holding to 17.48 million shares, or more than 9% of the company, worth [pounds sterling]123 million. The value of his personal holding has tumbled [pounds sterling]23 million while that of the company has sunk [pounds sterling]236 million to [pounds sterling]1.05 billion.

The industrial dispute by ground staff at Heathrow over the weekend could jeopardise British Airways' chances of being returned to the top 100 quoted companies in the next quarterly reshuffle.

Shares in the national carrier touched 170p before reverting to unchanged at 1743/4p, valuing it at [pounds sterling]1.84 billion. Dealers say events over the weekend were a PR disaster for the company and the dispute is far from being resolved. Brokers say repeat action during the peak summer season could result in further haemorrhaging of funds, which will be a drain on the share price. This hit a record low of 86p in March, signalling the group's demotion again from the blue-chip companies that make up the Footsie lead index.

Britain's biggest financial services outfit, Prudential, was another casualty, falling 41/2p to 4141/2p on the back of weekend reports that it plans to cut its dividend by up to 40% when final results are published next week. …

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