Abbey shares climb after takeover report

Shares in banking group Abbey were leading the stock market today after a report claimed it had received an informal takeover approach from a Spanish bank.

Shares in banking group Abbey were leading the stock market today after a report claimed it had received an informal takeover approach from a Spanish bank.

Abbey’s stock climbed to the top of the FTSE 100 Index, rising 3% or 13.25p to 445.245p, after the Financial Times said Spain’s biggest bank, Santander Central Hispano (SCH), had expressed an interest in buying the UK group.

The newspaper said SCH did not make an offer and discussions were not thought to have progressed beyond the initial approach.

Last week, Abbey endured a rough ride from investors at its annual meeting amid renewed concerns over the troubled group’s recovery.

Abbey, which is battling to reverse two years of heavy losses, had earlier told the City that the outlook for trading profits at its high street division was “moderately weaker” – but insisted its restructuring remained on track.

Investors criticised the company’s recent brand overhaul, which has seen the trading name shortened from Abbey National to just Abbey and a new logo introduced.

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