One of Britain’s biggest engineering firms provided investors with a much-needed boost on what was a miserable day for the FTSE 100.
Smiths Group confirmed it is in early-stage talks with US rival ICU Medical, which is worth more than £4.2billion, about a mega-merger involving both of their medical device businesses.
The FTSE 100 industrial giant has reportedly been scouting out options for its medical unit for some time.
One of Britain’s biggest engineering firms provided investors with a much-needed boost on what was a miserable day for the FTSE 100
California-based ICU makes pumps and needles used in the treatment of cancer. In a statement, Smiths said: ‘The board routinely reviews all options for the group’s portfolio of businesses to maximise value for shareholders. There can be no certainty that a transaction will be concluded.’
Smiths shares led the FTSE 100 for a big chunk of the day, before falling back. They closed up 1.7per cent, or 30p, at 1750p.
Political upheaval in Italy and Spain wiped billions of pounds off world stock markets and pushed the FTSE 100 to its biggest fall in more than two months.
The blue-chip index slid 1.26per cent, or 97.64 points, to 7632.64 while the FTSE 250 dropped 1.72per cent, or 363.77 points, to 20,746.76.
STOCK WATCH: Akers Pence Biosciences
Shares in Akers Biosciences fell after it decided to withdraw an application to the US drugs regulator to approve its rapid PIFA chlamydia test.
The decision was taken on the recommendation of regulator the US Food and Drugs Administration, although Akers refuses to say why.
Raymond Akers resigned as a director following the decision but John Gormally, chief executive, said: ‘PIFA chlamydia continues to be a priority.’ Shares dived 31.4per cent, or 13.5p, to 29.5p.
Standard Life Aberdeen plans to return £1.75billion to shareholders following the sale of its European insurance business to Phoenix Group. The asset manager expects a surplus from the £2.3billion deal to sell Standard Life Assurance to Phoenix.
It will return £1billion to shareholders through a B share scheme and the remaining £750million via a share buyback. Investors shrugged off the announcement, with Standard Life Aberdeen shares edging 2.5per cent, or 9.1p, lower to 350.8p.
Paddy Power Betfair began its previously announced £500million share buyback scheme, which will complete over the next 12 to 18 months. The bookies’ stock edged up 0.2per cent, or 20p, to 9100p.
On the FTSE 250, Bank of Georgia shares plunged after it spun off its investment business.
As part of the deal, Bank of Georgia has given the newly-created Georgia Capital nearly 9.8million shares. It means both Bank of Georgia, the retail bank, and Georgia Capital now trade separately on London’s main market.
Tbilisi-based Bank of Georgia has more than 2.3million customers and 281 branches, and has a site in Mayfair in the UK. Bank of Georgia shares dropped 40.1per cent, or 1249.2p, to 1863.8p.
In the small caps, ground engineer Keller and partner Intrafor have been awarded a £11million contract for a tunnel project in Melbourne, Australia. Keller dipped 2.7per cent, or 28p, to 1028p.
On the FTSE 250, Bank of Georgia shares plunged after it spun off its investment business
On Aim, computer game maker Gaming Realms has signed a three-year licensing agreement with Sony Pictures Television.
The deal will see Gaming Realms create and host a gaming website called millionaire games, featuring a new version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Despite the news, Gaming Realms slumped 4.8per cent, or 0.38p, to 7.45p.
Redstone Connect, which creates smart building software and technology, has agreed to sell its systems integration and IT support subsidiaries, Comunica Holdings and Commensus, to Excel IT Services for £21.6million and shares leapt 31.2per cent, or 27p, to 113.5p.
Caspian Sunrise shares flew after it discovered four new pockets of oil in Kazakhstan.
The Aim-listed oil company also completed its acquisition of 3A Best for £18million. Shares jumped 8.6per cent, or 0.8p, to 10.1p.
Shares in software firm Idox dived after a profit warning. It slashed its full-year earnings guidance from £22.8million to £13-15m.
Shares flopped 17.8per cent, or 6.95p, to 32.2p.