News in brief

Banknotes cutback

De La Rue, the banknote printer and credit card manufacturer is to cut over 375 jobs as part of a shakeup of its banknote business. The firm’s Gateshead plant will face the most job cuts in the move designed to save £9m a year.

Akzo takes over

Dutch chemical group Akzo Nobel is set to snap up UK chemicals group Courtaulds for £1.83bn following the decision by US group PPG to drop plans for a counterbid. It is understood Akzo has agreed to sell two of Courtaulds’ smaller coatings businesses to PPG.

Apollo profit rockets

Apollo Metals has reported half-year operating profits up 35% to £3.04m on turnover up 18% to £42m for the six months to 31 March.

GEC Alsthom floats

GEC Alsthom, the Anglo-French power, transport and engineering group, launched the initial public offering this week of 52% of its share capital. The flotation is expected to value the group, to be renamed Alstom, at around £4.5bn.

Leyland to Paccar

Paccar, the giant US truck company, has acquired Leyland Trucks following the requisite government approvals. The UK company employs 800 at its plant in Lancashire, making commercial vehicles in the 8-16 tonne range and on-off-road trucks for the MoD.

Oxford downer

Oxford Instruments, the scientific and medical instruments firm recorded pre-tax profits in the year to 31 March down 31% on last year at £15.8m on turnover up 14% at £199m. It blamed the strong pound, production problems and the Asian financial crisis.

Yard wide open

The MoD said it has still not decided which yard will win the refit of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Grey Rover.