The Sunday Times reports that the French materials group is prepared to increase bid for plasterboard company by 5%. Plus all the other news from the weekend papers.

Mostly financial news in the papers this weekend.

Both The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph ran stories on Saint-Gobain, the French materials group, which is mounting a bid for the British-owned BPB plasterboard company, the largest in the world. The Sunday Times reported that Saint-Gobain raised its proposed bid in an attempt to secure the board's recommendation. Saint-Gobain is prepared to raise its bid 5% from 720p a share to 760p, the paper said. The Sunday Telegraph reported that the French company was trying to set up a meeting with BPB to boost its chances.

The Financial Times and The Times reported that Persimmon, the UK's largest housebuilder, is closer to agreeing a £640m cash offer for rival Westbury. Persimmon is believed to have offered around 560p a share. The deal would make Persimmon the UK’s biggest housebuilder by sales volume.

Builder's merchant Travis Perkins issued a surprise profits warning after reporting a significant worsening in market conditions in recent weeks, The Times and The Financial Times reported on Saturday. Analysts have now reduced profits forecasts for the building materials company from £225m to £205m for the year to December, the papers said. Travis blamed the profits alert partly on a price war in the DIY sector, which had attracted some customers away from Wickes, acquired by Travis Perkins last year for £950m. The company also said that jobbing builders and small housebuilders were admitting they had less work than anticipated. In an unscheduled trading statement, Travis said: "We expect trading conditions in merchanting to worsen more than usual through the winter period, with the prospect of an extended shutdown in the building sector over the holiday season."

Elsewhere in the weekend papers:

The Observer dedicated two pages to the Thames Gateway this weekend. The paper looked at all aspects of the proposed scheme, from posing questions such as “Who on earth would want to live there?” to the impact the Olympics will have on the local areas.

Sticking with The Observer, the paper ran a story on architect MacCormac Jamieson Pritchard’s sacking from the BBC scheme. The BBC is now engulfed in a political row, the paper says, as MP’s on the Commons Public accounts committee were “astonished” not to be told about the sacking when they questioned director-general Mark Thompson about the project last week. One member of the committee said he would ask the National Audit |Office to investigate.