Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Corus Shines out as the Bid Spotters Get Heated; MARKET ROUND-UP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Corus Shines out as the Bid Spotters Get Heated; MARKET ROUND-UP

Article excerpt

Byline: MICKEY CLARK

ANGLO-DUTCHsteelmaker Corus was by far the best-performing bluechip today, with its shares soaring almost 12% amid mounting speculation that a bid may be on the way.

The price soared 471/2p to 455p in another day of heavy turnover in the shares - more than 20 million changed hands in the first hour of business.

Corus continues to be seen as a target for Indian steel giant Tata, although this is dismissed out of hand in certain sections of the City, where there is talk the group may be looking to take advantage of rising steel prices and booming market conditions by targeting other steel producers.

The Indian financial press certainly reckons the story is a runner and some brokers say such a deal would make sound commercial logic. Speculation has intensified in recent months, fuelled by the [pounds sterling]17 billion merger between Mittal Steel and Arcelor and Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich's buy into Russian steel group Evraz.

Wall Street extended its record breaking run overnight and the buying spree spilled over into the Far East this morning. That buoyed London, which climbed back above the 6000 level while City investors waited anxiously to see if the Bank of England's monetary policy committee voted to raise interest rates above the present 4.75%. The FTSE 100 index rose 40 points to 6006.5.

Anglo-Swiss miner Xstrata was unmoved on 1996p as trading got under way in the nil-paid shares.

They touched 750p before settling at 738p. Broker Merrill Lynch has upgraded Xstrata and Rio Tinto, 69p better at 2470p.

Bid speculation lifted publisher and conference organiser United Business Media 101/2p to 6921/2p.

More bad news at Business Post, which dipped 5p to 405p. The UK parcels and fledgling Royal Mail competitor admitted it is having to take another [pounds sterling]3 million of exceptional charges to cover its struggling franchise partners and gaps in previous years' accounting. That is on top of the [pounds sterling]6.7 million charge it took earlier this year.

Its main parcels business saw revenues fall 3.4% to [pounds sterling]94 million in the six months to the end of September, taking the shine off its UK Mail business which increased turnover by 156% to [pounds sterling]37 million. …

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