Updates from Eurostar, Melrose Industries and Essentra

Eurostar stake positioned for sale despite taxpayer value-for-money worries

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Friday saw the FTSE 100 take more pressure, down 1.43% to 6,339.9. A 92-point drop overall. Tullow Oil by a large margin was the biggest loser, slumping 7.88% to 526p - its lowest point since December 2008. Hargreaves Lansdown shares were also down hard, losing 4.17% to 884p. There were also significant share losses for TUI Travel and Weir Group.

Across the water, the Dow Jones gave away more than 115 points, falling to 16,544.10 - more than 4% down since its record September high.

We start with news that the Government is attempting to find buyers for a 40% stake in Eurostar, despite some concern from Labour and the RMT union. George Osborne hopes to raise up to £20bn from the sale of financial assets by 2020.

Value-for-money concerns will rise; the National Audit Office could take an interest in the sale; interested buyers have until the end of October to notify the Government. The British stake in Eurostar stands at 40% with the French owning 55% and the Belgian's 5%.

"RMT always said," acting general secretary Mick Cash has said, "that the planned sell off of the highly-profitable British public stake in Eurostar was pure Thatcherite ideology and the latest reports that the French state can effectively take it over on their own terms just rams home that point.

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Next, Melrose Industries says it has agreed a sale of rope and cable maker Bridon to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan for £365 million, payable in cash on completion; Melrose will contribute £6.7m into the Bridon Group Pension Scheme.

The proceeds will be used to pay down existing borrowings says Melrose. The sale is expected to complete before the end of the year.

"We have successfully grown and developed the Bridon business," says chief exec Simon Peckham, "into a premier supplier of critical high-performance ropes for energy, mining and industrial applications. We have every confidence that Bridon will continue its success."

Lastly, plastics and fibre player Essentra. In the third quarter of 2014, revenues increased 8% versus Q3 2013 at constant exchange rates. On a like-for-like basis growth was 7% says Essentra. The numbers were helped by a strong performance in Pipe Protection Technologies.

Growth in Packaging & Securing Solutions came from healthcare packaging and speciality tapes, which outweighed weakness in tear tape to the tobacco market.

"We remain on track," says boss Colin Day, "to exceed our objectives of at least mid single-digit like-for-like revenue growth and double-digit adjusted EPS growth at constant exchange - not only in 2014, but also over the three-year period since the strategy was implemented."

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