Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Taking Stock; Your At-a-Glance Guide

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Taking Stock; Your At-a-Glance Guide

Article excerpt

BANKING AND FINANCE

Insurer Liverpool Victoria has bought what was formerly GE Life from Swiss Re in a deal worth about [pounds sterling]60 million. The mutual, with 2.5 million customers and assets of [pounds sterling]8 billion, was advised by investment banking boutique Fenchurch.

BUILDING AND PROPERTY

More buy-to-let investors are selling up, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. In the first quarter of the year, 5.2% of such property owners sold at the end of their tenant lease, up from 4.1% the previous three months.

CONSUMER

Northern Foods is finding it tough to make a profit from biscuits, because of the rising cost of cocoa, but is doing fine thanks to sales of sandwiches and pizzas. Full-year profits were [pounds sterling]40 million, up [pounds sterling]7 million. The dividend is held at 4.25p.

ECONOMICS

The housebuilding market in France has slipped sharply, according to figures today, triggering concerns about the consumer side of the French economy.

Housing starts in the three months to the end of April were down 9.5% on a year ago.

ENGINEERING

Goldman Sachs has raised Invensys from sell to neutral and removed the shares from its Pan-Europe Sell List. It did this after last weeks full-year results showing the controls division had turned the corner, lifting its target to 365p.

HEALTH

Indian drugmaker Aurobindo has won US approval for its antibiotic Cefprozil tablets in 250mg and 500mg strengths. Cefprozil is a generic version of the Cefzil brand made by Bristol-Myers Squibb to treat respiratory infections.

INDUSTRIALS

UK Coal is shaking up its top management team and chief executive Gerry Spindler, 59, top man since 2004, will step down in September, to be replaced by Jon Lloyd, currently property director. He plans to return to the US.

LEISURE

ABN Amro has repeated its buy rating on Compass and raisedits target from 395p to to 430p, viewing recent first-half results from the caterer as the start of steady self-improvement. Last month, the group raised pre-tax profits from [pounds sterling]158 million to [pounds sterling]224 million. …

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