Japan's second crack at Pilkington

A NY City veteran will tell you that Pilkington has a special place in the history of UK takeovers. Almost 20 years ago the world's largest glass manufacturer staved off a hostile bid from BTR - thanks to its then major shareholder Standard Life.

The shares have disappointed ever since, and because of that underperformance it is now in danger of losing its independence to 19.8% shareholder Nippon Sheet Glass. Pilks closed 1p dearer at 150¼p amid growing speculation of an imminent £2.23bn, or 170p-a-share cash bid from the Japanese company.

Earlier this month Pilks refused to recommend its 150p-per-share approach. But chairman Sir Nigel Rudd - no stranger to takeover shenanigans - and the rest of the board are in no position to reject a higher offer. Indeed, they are in line for sizeable share windfalls in the event of a successful offer.

Among the builders, construction company Mowlem rose 5p to 195p on talk of a £319m, or 225p a share, cash bid from Carillion (6p better at 308p), the former Tarmac construction and support services company.

Mowlem, which can trace its history to 1822, suffered reputational damage from several high-profile contracts such as the Bath Spa, which has still not opened amid legal wrangling, and Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower, which opened last month - five years late.

It warned in July that full-year profits would be about £20m less than market expectations following a review of its accounting policies. The shares collapsed to 130p. Carillion's interest has prompted a revival.

The prospect of more mouthwatering bids and deals helped the FTSE 250 rally 72.7 points to 8400.6, while big brother Footsie closed 62.9 points higher at 5486.1.

Wall Street jumped 109 points in early trading after retail sales data eased inflationary fears.

Buying on reports of a pending bullish trading update lifted hedge fund Man Group 70p to 1845p.

Speculative buying fuelled by vague takeover gossip helped insurer Royal & SunAlliance rise 4p to 117½p

600450 Japan's second crack at Pilkington glassonweb.com
Date: 7 December 2005
Source: Thisismoney.co.uk

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