News in brief

Textron on prowl

City observers warned this week that US giant Textron could make further forays into the UK market after buying pumps and gears manufacturer David Brown for £195m last week.

Steel jobs lost

British Steel has shed 3,200 UK and European jobs in the past two years. The heaviest losses have been in its UK sections, plate and commercial steels businesses. However, steel output will increase to 17.8m tonnes this year from 16m tonnes in 1996.

Scottish depression

Optimism in the Scottish engineering sector is at its lowest since 1992, with 75% of companies working below capacity, says Scottish Engineering’s latest quarterly report. With the exception of heavy industries, orders are down for the second consecutive quarter.

Party politics

The Engineering Council spent about £8,000 last year sponsoring receptions at political party conferences. As part of its brief to represent the profession to the Government, it spent £5,000 at Labour’s Brighton conference.

Siemens plant sale

The Government appointed taskforce set up to help Siemens sell its mothballed semiconductor plant on Tyneside has sent detailed reports to several parties said to be interested in the facility.

Smiths gets bigger

Smiths Industries is to expand its medical products division with the acquisition of Wisconsin-based medical equipment manufacturer Biochem International.

Cooper to buy TLG

Lighting system manufacturer TLG, which recorded pre-tax profits of £24.8m this year on turnover of £392.9m, is to be acquired by Cooper UK, part of US electrical engineer Cooper Industries, for £321m.