Sainsbury's deal looks set

The £10.6bn Delta Two fund bid for Sainsbury's could be clinched this week, even if the trustees of Sainsbury's pension fund have not yet given the green light. Delta - the investment vehicle of the ­Qatari royal family - has already offered to pay £1bn into the pension fund. There is speculation that this may secure the trustees' agreement to the deal - and Delta does not have to wait for formal agreement on the pension fund front.

The Sainsbury family - a powerful shareholder - has threatened to block the bid unless a deal is struck with the trustees, who demanded a £3bn injection to the fund when private equity firm CVC was circling Sainsbury's earlier this year.

Sainsbury's will quit its HQ in Holborn to move to London's King's Cross area in 2011 - a move which will save £7m.

Tesco growth slows

Tesco announced a pre-tax profit rise of 18% to £1.29bn for the six months to 25 August on sales up 9% to £22.6bn. Overall sales growth in the UK slowed to 3.5% due to the wet summer, but core food and petrol sales bucked this with 5.4% sales growth. In recent weeks, sales growth has bounced back to 5%. Growth in the first half was led by increased sales of high-profit margin products such as the Tesco Finest range.

International sales soared 22% to £6.4bn. By the end of the finan­cial year the group is looking to open a further 10m sq ft of selling space, 80% of which will be in its international operations.

Tesco is to open the first five Fresh & Easy stores in the US next month and hopes to open 50 stores across three states by the end of this financial year.

Genus bucks weak US$

Genus, the animal genetics specialist, announced pre-tax profits up 65% at £19.9m on sales up 45% at £234m for the year to 30 June 2007. This was achieved despite the steady slide in the US$ to US$2:£1. Revenues from the US, which accounts for 50% of income, increased by 4% to £119m.

Volumes in the beef sector rose 7% to 11.3m doses of semen, while the pig business increased market share by three points to 45% as farmers focus on driving yields higher. Broker Landsbanki expects adjusted pre-tax profits of £27.2m in 2008 and £32.2m in 2009.

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