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Market Watch

FINANCE

THE DIRECTORS of Malcolm have extended the deadline for shareholders to accept the £70 million offer to take the Scottish contracting and logistics outfit private.

By March 18, the directors, who operate under the banner Malcolm of Brookfield Holdings, only had acceptances from 38.5 per cent of the shareholders.

The offer has now been extended to April 8 to try and drum up enough support.The management sees no future for the £129 million-turnover business on the markets.

Bovis brought up the rear of the results season for the house builders and firmed 8.5p to 704p by last Friday after releasing solid figures earlier in the week.

This price is close to the premium level for the shares, according to investment bankers Citigroup Smith Barney, which downgraded the stock from 'buy' to 'hold' and upped the target price on the shares from 685p to 730p.

Ashtead also gained despite a downgrade with analysts at broker Panmure advising clients to sell shares right down to 74p last week after the plant hirer released results.

On the Alternative Investment Market results from fit-out contractor Interior failed to generate much excitement.

City gossip has been suggesting that the management wants to take Interior private.With profits tumbling as the firm tries to expand into the regions, Panmure is advising clients to hold the stock but cut its target price by 21p to 190p.