Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

French May Add [Pounds Sterling]500m to British Energy Offer

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

French May Add [Pounds Sterling]500m to British Energy Offer

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH MARKS

FRANCES EDF could raise its offer for British Energy by another [pounds sterling]500million, according to sources close to the deal.

The word in the City today is that EDF might go as high as 735p a share inexchange for board support for its offer. This could push the final pricebeyond [pounds sterling]11 billion. Speculation on an improved French offer went some way tosoften-ing the sell-off triggered by the with-drawal by Spains Iberdrola fromthe auction for the nuclear power firm. British Energy was down 10p at 727p.

Fears of further oil-price rises kept the lid on London shares, with just ahandful of blue-chips making head-way. The FTSE 100 index of leading shares wasdown 39.4 points at 5751.1 with miners, led by Eurasian Natural Resources, off59p at 1301p, suffering.

The FSA position on short-selling provided a much-needed fillip to finan-cialcompanies while housebuilders also showed strong rises. Persimmon was 9p higherat 3813/4p, Taylor Wimpey led the FTSE 250 risers with a gain of 111/2p to721/2p while Barratt Develop-ments was 9p higher at 851/4p. Redrow was alsobetter, up 26p at 167p, followed by Bellway, 323/4p ahead at 511p.

BG advanced 10p to 1253p after boast-ing about its latest oil find in theSan-tos Basin in Brazil. BG said the discov-ery could extend the verysignificant potential of the area, in which it holds a 30% stake.

AstraZeneca could be about to declare victory in the fight to protects itsblockbuster drug Seroquel. With a summary judgment hearing scheduled to goahead in 10 days time, there is an outside chance the judge will rule in favourof the drugs company, say ana-lysts at Panmure Gordon.

It reckons the generic drug firms can-not win at this stage, and a possiblepos-itive verdict for Astra is reason enough to start buying.

However, a 3p drop to 2113p suggests the market is still counting on a fulltrial to start on 11 August, and Astra was down 9p at 2107p. Panmures target of3075p is clearly rooting for victory. …

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