Shares in Smith & Nephew were down on the FTSE 100 in afternoon trading after the producer of medical devices denied rumours that it was considering takeover bids.

The company said that it had a "long standing policy" against commenting on press speculation but that this was an exceptional case.

In a statement the company said, "Smith & Nephew wishes to clarify that it is not engaged in any discussions which could lead to a merger or a takeover involving the Company."

There had been speculation that U.S. firm Biomet was considering a bid.

By 14:45 shares in Smith & Nephew were down 0.58 per cent on the FTSE 100 to 680.50 pence per share.