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August 15: Shire Pharmaceuticals, Britain’s third largest drugs group, has finally settled its long-running dispute with Barr Pharmaceuticals of the US. The shares are up about 5 per cent because Barr will not now be able to produce a generic version of Shire’s new attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug for three years. I may be wrong, as I know very little about drug patents, but what seemed more interesting is that this deal will see generic versions of Shire’s Adderal XR appear 10 years before patent expiry. Isn’t that worrying for other drug companies? We’ll try to tell you later.

British Land says City rents are on the rise again as it reports strong first half results.

Countrywide, the estate agent, has been boosted by the strong housing market. Its 17-fold jump in first half profits reflects gains made on shares it held in Rightmove, the website company floated on a ludicrous valuation earlier this year. However, the fact that the interim dividend is being lifted from 1p to 5p suggests there is some more reliable growth here.

I’d like to learn more about the accounting irregularities at Interserve, which we and others wrote about this morning. It’s hard not to wonder if Patrick Evershed of New Star Asset Management has a point. He told The Times: “It seems almost inconceivable that that Interserve directors were not aware of what was going on before the end of last week.”

An intriguing story on Reuters: “The appointment of HSBC’s new India chief is being held up by the central bank, which is asking the executive to quit the board of world’s largest food maker, Nestlé, to prevent potential conflicts of interest, a source at the global bank said.” We have no comment yet from HSBC or from our Indian correspondents are but are pursuing one.

And Bloomberg says that Lord Browne and other BP executives are being sued in New York by a shareholder who is angry about the Prudhoe Bay disaster.

There will be no blog tomorrow as I won’t be in the office.

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