Updates from United Drug and IGas

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The FTSE 100 slipped -1.11% on Friday, falling almost 74 points to 6,583. The biggest casualties were miners with Evraz down -4.92% and Eurasian Natural Resources tumbling -4.76%. William Hill was the biggest gainer, up +1.82%.

Overnight, the Nikkei sinks -3.40% to 13,551 due to a stronger yen though the Hang Seng climbs +0.29% to 22,456.
We start with Melrose. The FTSE 100 has confirmed in a statement that it is in the first stages of selling its lifting businesses, Crosby - specialising in lifting fittings for the mining and construction industry - and Acco, which handles design and engineering for handling equipment.

"At this early stage there can be no certainty that this review will lead to a sale process being launched," said the company. "A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate."

Part of Melrose's business model, it says, is "to buy manufacturing businesses, improve their performance and realise value, often within a three to five year time frame." Melrose has appointed J.P. Morgan Cazenove to handle this process.

Secondly, UK firm IGas has announced there could be up to 170 trillion cubic feet of gas it has authority to pursue in northern England. The company also has significant areas of Cheshire to explore.

"The licences have a very significant shale gas resource with the potential to transform the company and materially benefit the communities in which we operate," IGas chief executive Andrew Austin confirmed to the BBC.

Meanwhile a new Department of Energy and Climate Change is expected to update in the near future on how much shale gas potential there is in the North West of England, thought, in some quarters, to be considerable.

Lastly, FTSE 250 player drug distribution and packing services operator United Drug has confirmed that further to the announcement made on 2 October 2012, Barry McGrane has stepped down as an Executive Director of the Board and is appointed as a Non-Executive Director with immediate effect.

"The Group also confirms the appointment of Alan Ralph as Chief Financial Officer with immediate effect. Alan will continue to serve as a Director, a position he has held since 2008."

First-half profits recently climbed +8.0% partly by the recent buying up of a marketing services provider last year. Its shares have climbed sharply in the last six months (currently 327.7p).

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