Sale of Wellcome PLC pushedWellcome PLC's largest...

BUSINESS DIGEST

January 28, 1995

Sale of Wellcome PLC pushed

Wellcome PLC's largest shareholder said yesterday that it would press ahead with its plan to sell its 39.5 percent stake in the pharmaceutical company to Glaxo PLC, diminishing Wellcome's chances of evading Glaxo's $14 billion hostile takeover offer by attracting another bidder.

To Wellcome, the decision was a continued if widely expected betrayal by the shareholder, the Wellcome Trust, a charity that until 1986 was the sole owner of the company.

Wellcome was still left with some hope of finding an alternative buyer, because the trust can back out of its deal with Glaxo if a higher offer comes along within 21 days after Glaxo sends details of its offer to Wellcome's shareholders, probably next week.

Japanese bank to report loss

Signaling the first annual loss for a major Japanese bank since the end of World War II, the Sumitomo Bank said yesterday that it expects to end up with a $2.8 billion deficit this fiscal year as it writes off mountains of bad loans.

The announcement stunned bankers, but it was also praised as a bold attempt -- at least for the normally conservative Japanese banks -- to bite the bullet and resolve problems quickly.

In Japan, the Ministry of Finance has restrained banks from reporting losses for fear of undermining public confidence in banks. As a result, banks have been disposing of their bad loans bit by bit.

FDA advances Guilford drug

Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc. said yesterday its investigational new drug application for Dopascan was given clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dopascan is an imaging agent for the diagnosis and monitoring of Parkinson's disease.

Guilford said it will begin an additional clinical trial at Johns Hopkins Hospital and expects to begin others during the next few months.

Mexican stocks in sharp drop

Mexican stock prices closed sharply lower yesterday as concerns over the fate of a $40 billion U.S. aid package continued to assail the market.

The Bolsa's main 37-share IPC index fell below the psychological support level of 2,000 and ended the day with a fall of 60.96 points, at 1,957.65. It was the market's third consecutive losing session.

Hershey earnings rise

Hershey Foods Corp. said fourth-quarter earnings rose 14 percent as sales rose to a record and were especially strong in the U.S. candy business.

The maker of chocolate, pasta, candy and candy ingredients said that excluding a $92 million restructuring charge, profit rose $105 million, or $1.21 a share.

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