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B&B makes FTSE debut as shares rise strongly

Mortgage lender and national IFA Bradford & Bingley has entered the FTSE 100 this week on the back of strong share price performance.

B&B&#39s share price rose by 5.7 per cent to 323p last week after the release of a trading statement showing it is on track to meet analysts&#39 expectations.

It takes the vacancy in the FTSE left by utility company Eon&#39s acquisition of Powergen last month.

B&B says its subsidiaries, The MarketPlace, mortgage broker Charcol and specialist lender Mortgage Express, have contributed to its growth since floating in 2000.

B&B says, like all lenders, it has benefited from the housing boom, including buy to let. It discounts analysts&#39 fears that the buy-to-let market is precarious, claiming its loans to value are low and borrowers can cope with breaks in rental income.

B&B has protection against hostile takeover bids until 2005 but admits it has a duty to shareholders to consider any attractive offers.

Spokeswoman Siobhan Hotten says: “We make our debut in the FTSE this week after teetering on the edge for several months. This is sign that our strategy is working.”

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