Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Taking Stock

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Taking Stock

Article excerpt

Profits at Anglo-South African bank Investec jumped 20% before tax to [pounds sterling]466.6 million last year after a near-50% surge in business from wealthy people saving with its private-client business in the UK. The total dividend rises 26% to 23p.

Credit Suisse has raised Enterprise Inns from underperform to outperform after the pubs chain said it might convert to a real estate investment trust. It says this would send fair value surging from 743p to 1071p if the move goes ahead.

Vimto soft drinks maker Nichols today said takeover talks started in March with private-equity companies after the launch of a strategic review by adviser Rothschild are still on. Nichols said trading was in line with expectations.

BANKING AND FINANCE BUILDING AND PROPERTY CONSUMER Japan's economy cooled in the first quarter, marking the parlous state of the world's second-richest country. The news, coupled with low inflation data, led the Bank of Japan to leave interest rates at 0.5%. GDP growth slowed to 2.4% from 5% in the previous quarter.

ECONOMICS

Hi-tech glass and lens-maker Hoya has agreed a 98.8 billion yen ([pounds sterling]413 million) takeover of camera company Pentax in a move that will see it forge deeper into growth areas such as advanced cameras and medical tools.

Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic has appealed against a Delaware court's decision to dismiss its case against Acambis. BN alleged that Acambis had unlawfully obtained and copied MVA, used to make smallpox vaccine.

Avon Rubber, which has just restructured to focus on the defence and dairy markets, warned its UK cost base is too high and said it is still suffering from uncertain timing on US government contracts. Last year's profits were flat at [pounds sterling]100,000.

Nightclubs group Luminar today said first-half underlying sales fell 3% after a bad start to the year.

Profits dropped 9% to [pounds sterling]41.5 million from [pounds sterling]45.6 million a year earlier.

It said it would hit its target of returning [pounds sterling]70 million to shareholders a year earlier than planned.

LEISURE ENGINEERING HEALTH INDUSTRIALS

WPP is buying New York-based internet advertising company 24/7 in a $649 million ([pounds sterling]328 million) deal. …

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