Continuing sale talks fail to add a glow to British Energy's shares


BRITISH Energy failed to power ahead yesterday despite reports that an imminent bid for the East Kilbride-based group would be priced at about 775p-a-share.

Shares in BE edged 2p lower to 726.5p after surging 6.2 per cent in the previous session on news that French energy giant EDF was on the verge of agreeing a takeover deal.

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It is thought that a 12 billion-plus deal could be finalised by the middle of next week. EDF is also said to be looking to agree a deal with British Gas-owner Centrica for the UK firm to take a minority stake in BE.

Shares in Axis-Shield, the Dundee-based medical test kit specialist, moved up 4p to 285p after announcing it had renewed a US distribution contract with Abbott Laboratories for the Scots firm's Afinion product and signed new agreements with Abbott partner PSS World Medical. Axis-Shield chief executive Ian Gilham said: "We look forward to increasing sales of our flagship Afinion system in the important US market."

Elsewhere, a profits warning from German reinsurance giant Munich Re cast a veil over Edinburgh-based insurer Standard Life, whose shares slipped 6.5p, or almost 3 per cent, to 221.25p.

Microchip designer Wolfson inched up 0.5p to 126p ahead of next week's interims.

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