Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catlin Takes a Tumble as Big Seller Pops Up; MARKET ROUND-UP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catlin Takes a Tumble as Big Seller Pops Up; MARKET ROUND-UP

Article excerpt

INSURANCE broker Catlin, which bought rival Wellington Underwriting earlier this year for i 1/2591 million, was on the slide today on worries over the appearance of a big seller.

The price dropped 712p to 50434p as Goldman Sachs tried to place 13.8 million shares, or 5.5% of the company, with various institutions. The shares are thought to belong to chief executive and founder Steve Catlin.

Shares generally were a touch easier for choice following falls on Wall Street overnight and in the Far East this morning. But continuing high levels of corporate activity and speculation meant that falls were limited. The FTSE 100 index drifted 10.1 to 6282.5.

A big rise in the oil price overnight helped BP, up 6p at 54912p, and Royal Dutch Shell, 24p better at 1704p, establish themselves as the best of the bluechip performers.

British Airways marked time at 497p amid mounting speculation it is ready to splash out more than i 1/21 billion for low-cost rival bmi. But before the deal can

go ahead, the national carrier will have to woo Sir Michael Bishop. He is chairman of bmi and, more importantly, owns 50% of the shares. He is understood to have received a number of approaches from various airlines looking to buy his stake.

AIM-listed restaurants chain La Tasca firmed 12p to 17612p after agreeing terms worth 185p a share with rival Tragus, which owns the Cafi 1/2 Rouge chain. The deal

values La Tasca at i 1/296 million. Privately owned Tragus has already received acceptances totalling 26.5% of the shares in issue.

Trains and buses operator First- Group says it enjoyed a strong trading performance last year despite having to absorb a big increase in fuel costs.

Results should be in line with management expectations. The company has been shortlisted for a further three rail franchises InterCity East Coast, New Cross Country and East Midlands worth an additional i 1/21 billion of revenue a year.

Soft furnishings retailer Laura Ashley firmed 1p to 2834p after posting doubled pre-tax profit of i 1/212. …

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