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Gold futures headed up on early trading on Monday, extending gains from last week. Gold for December delivery improved by $9.30, or 0.7 per cent, to $1,380.30 an ounce.

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UK engineering group Kentz (KENZ) has rejected separate takeover approaches from London-listed peer Amec (AMEC) and the German group M+W Group GmbH (part of the Austrian conglomerate Stumpf), as both offers undervalued the company. AMEC had offered 565p to 580p a share – giving a value of around £675n. The M+W offer was lower than the one from AMEC, and both had been unanimously rejected by the Kentz board.

Within its interim statement, Fastnet Oil & Gas (FAST) said it is in advanced discussions with “several targeted international oil and gas companies” aimed at bringing in a partner to help develop its assets in Ireland’s Celtic Sea. The farm-out talks, which are likely to conclude in the fourth quarter of the year, would likely involve a “significant” contribution to past costs, including 3D seismic and a contribution to a drilling programme anticipated in 2015.

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As part of its bid to shore up capital and refocus on UK retail banking,Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) is considering selling its German insurance business Heidelberger Leben to Frankfurt-listed insurer Hannover Re, in a transaction valued at approximately €400m ($533m).

A sell-off of 315 branches by the taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) could be delayed beyond the two-year schedule, according to W&G Investments, one of the three bidders vying for the branches. RBS has been ordered to sell the branches in return for receiving a £45.5bn bailout during the 2008 financial crisis.

Aminex (AEX) and Solo Oil (SOLO) confirmed that negotiations are ongoing with the Tanzanian authorities for gas produced from the Ntorya-1 well in the Ruvuma Basin, and the sale of gas into the 36 inch pipeline being constructed between Mtwara to Dar es Salaam and a point that passes approximately 12 kilometres to the east of Ntorya-1. Though the process towards commercialisation is rather tortuous, Solo said that initial indications of gas prices and a development scenario prepared internally, indicate favourable development economics.

OTHER COMPANY NEWS:

Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP) has raised its stakes in three wells in Oklahoma as part of its plan to rapidly increase production. It has increased its working interest in the JoLynn 18-1WH to 3.96 per cent from 0.453 per cent, the Voise 1-10H to 2.083 per cent from 1.667 per cent and the Sympson 1-6H to 1.15 per cent from 0.948 per cent.

Department store chain House of Fraser is considering a possible return to the London Stock Exchange after an absence of seven years. The 161-year-old business, which has been the subject of takeover interest in the past year, could be valued at between £200m-£300m if a flotation goes ahead.

The New York Times reports that authorities in the US have opened an investigation into whether JPMorgan Chase & Co hired the children of high-ranking Chinese officials to help it win business in the People’s Republic.

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