Speculation that a bid was in the offing for industrial equipment maker Howden sent the shares into orbit several days before the agreed £385m deal actually emerged with one of the strongly-tipped names, Charter, as the suitor. The shares, which had seen a 12-month low of 65.5p, were marked up close to the offer value of 130p.
Elsewhere, trading results were again the main influence on prices, with Severfield-Reeve, the structural steelwork engineer, forging ahead 31p to a new high for the year of 433.5p on doubled profits (£4.53m) and a 75% dividend increase to 5.25p.
A sharp dividend increase (48% to 8p) and profits before exceptionals up 25% at £19.05m, added several pence to Rotork, the valve actuators concern. Stockbroker Albert E Sharp, which has the shares on buy, looks for profits of £21.8m this year. The broker believes that any adverse effect of the strong pound will be more than offset by the strong order book, up 20% on a year ago.
Tyzack Precision – previously Eurovein which was renamed after disposing of its surface treatment interests – eased a few pence on interims showing a £612,00 loss.
Steel and wire maker Carclo, whose price has traded close to its year’s low 187.5p since its warning in December about weak stainless steel prices, closed at £2 on news of its purchase for £25.6m of the technical mouldings division of EIS.