Sir Philip in the clear

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August 30: The SEC has decided against taking any action against Sir Philip Watts, the former chairman of Royal Dutch Shell who was forced to step down amid the group’s reserves crisis in 2004. In the UK, the FSA fined Shell £17m but took no action against Watts. So that’s it, then.

Signet says its UK business is not for sale, despite calls for a disposal from some UK shareholders, as we reported this morning. First-half pre-tax profits for the group are up 12 per cent but operating losses for the UK operation, which includes Ernest Jones and H Samuel, deepened.

Radstone Technology has rejected a third takeover approach from Eurotech of Italy. At 360p a share, the offer values the group at £109m.

Corus saw first-half profits drop, hit hard by rising fuel costs. However, Lex says the group is in great shape.

We’ll write lots more from London and Moscow on Rusal’s takeover of Sual, given that the enlarged group will be listed on the LSE. Lex says politics have played a greater role than economics in forging this deal.

Write-offs associated with the closure of overseas businesses and write-downs on the value of contracts (nothing changes in construction) hit Costain‘s first-half profits. The company is technically in breach of its banking covenants but says its banks are relaxed about this. Investors, however, are less relaxed: the shares have suffered their worst fall in four years.

We also have better-than-expected first-half figures from Filtrona and slightly disappointing figures from LogicaCMG, plus figures from Beazley, James Fisher and Johnston Press.

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