ICI price soars after takeover rebuff

Uk equities traded within a tight range yesterday, closing 28.90 points lower at 6703.50, despite the prospect of further takeover activity.

Uk equities traded within a tight range yesterday, closing 28.90 points lower at 6703.50, despite the prospect of further takeover activity.

This time it was the turn of the chemicals sector to enjoy the limelight with Imperial Chemicals Industry (ICI) rebuffing a 600p cash per share takeover approach from Dutch rival Akzo Nobel.

The board of ICI said that it had considered the cash offer but unanimously rejected it on the grounds that it significantly undervalues the company. The board said it will continue to evaluate all strategic opportunities, including ICI. The UK speciality chemicals company saw its shares soar 85.50p to 634.50p.

Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDS) announced it had reached an agreement with VitaK of The Netherlands to develop a commercial quantitative test for a biomarker known as Matrix-GLA Protein (MGP) in human serum.

Dr Roger Duggan, managing director of IDS, said that the agreement signals the company's determination to remain at the forefront of specialist products for the investigation of Bone & Calcium disorders, with the added potential of entering the area of cardiac markers.

The company's shares closed the session unchanged at 252.50p.

Scottish & Newcastle was given a helping hand yesterday on the back of an upgrade by Merrill Lynch. The investment house lifted its recommendation on the brewer to "buy" and raised its price target to 700p. It believes the revised Carlsberg Foundation charter, which allows the Danish company to raise around £5bn in equity, clears the way for Carlsberg to launch a bid for Scottish & Newcastle.

The UK brewer's shares ended the day 4.50p higher at 640.25p.

Barratt Developments ended its first day in the FTSE-100, 29p lower at 1045.50p.

Gary Fawcett is an assistant director of the Wise Speke division of Brewin Dolphin Securities.

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