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Large and mid cap weekly news summary: Rightmove, Balfour Beatty, Wolseley, AB Foods, Hammerson

Turbines and aircraft engines maker Rolls-Royce PLC (LSE: RR) announced a recommended 67 pence per share cash offer for the remaining holding in ODIM ASA (OSX: ODIM), valuing the Norwegian marine technology company at approximately £154 million.

Web-based UK property search-portal Rightmove (LSE: RMV) reported underlying operating profit growth  of 2% from £41.0m to £41.9min in the full year ended 31 December 2009, and noted that the number of advertisers using the portal increased by 6% to 17,664.

British Gas parent company Centrica PLC (LSE: CNA) said it has signed an agreement with Suncor Energy (TSX: SU, NYSE: SU), under which Centrica will acquire Suncor’s Trinidad and Tobago portfolio of gas assets for £246 million in cash.

Engineering, construction and services group Balfour Beatty PLC (LSE: BBY) said its 50 percent controlled infrastructure contractor Gammon Construction Ltd has won a HK$2.4 billion, or £195 million, contract for the widening of the Tolo and Fanling Highways in Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Highways Department.

A consortium led by the Kier Group (LSE: KIE), has signed a deal to deliver six new police investigation centres in Norfolk and Suffolk worth £60m. The private finance initiative (NASDAQ:PFI) project will see new centres built at Wymondham, Aylsham, Great Yarmouth, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and King's Lynn, each of which will be run over a 30-year concession period.

Plumbing products and building materials supplier Wolseley PLC (LSE: WOS) said that, if current trends continue, it expects group trading profit before exceptional items to exceed the current analysts' consensus forecast of £326 million for the financial year to 31 July 2010.

Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) chief executive Eric Daniels has waived his annual bonus for the second consecutive year, and he said Lloyds' performance is in danger of being obscured by the current debate on executive bonus awards in the banking sector.

Rio Tinto (LSE, ASX: RIO) announced it is expanding the Mine of the Future programme to develop new equipment and systems for deep underground mines. The group has selected three partners to work on the project; Aker Wirth and Atlas Copco will individually work with Rio Tinto to develop two new tunneling concepts and Herrenknecht will work on the development of a new shaft boring machine.

AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) has settled a long-running transfer pricing dispute with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in the UK. The settlement of the claims, spanning a 15-year period between 1996 to the end of 2010, will cost the drug-maker £505m.

Oil and gas producer and FTSE 250 constituent Dragon Oil (LSE: DGO) reported an average daily production rate increase of 9% in 2009 over 2008 and landmark production of 50,000 bopd (barrels of oil per day) achieved at the turn of 2009/2010. It is also offering a bullish outlook for the next three years amid a recovery in commodity prices and with a cash balance of more than US$1.1 billion.

Associated British Foods PLC (LSE: ABF) expects interim results to show a strong increase in revenue with growth achieved in all segments, with operating profit substantially higher than in the corresponding period last year in all segments except Agriculture, where trading last year benefited from unusually high volatility in commodity prices.

Asia focused oil and gas company Salamander Energy (LSE: SMDR) has spudded the Bang Nouan-1 exploration well in the Savannakhet area of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). Bang Nouan-1 will be drilled to approximately 3,700m true vertical depth. It is forecast to take approximately 75 days to complete on a dry-hole basis.

In the company’s full-year results, Hammerson (LSE: HMSO) chairman John Nelson said 2009 was a year of intense activity in volatile conditions. For the twelve months ended 31 December, adjusted and recurring group pre-tax profit increased by 14%, up £16m to £130m.

www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/13833/large-and-mid-cap-weekly-news-summary-rightmove-balfour-beatty-wolseley-ab-foods-hammerson-13833.html



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