Markets & Finance

On the Move: Allianz, British Airways, Saipem


Plus: Altadis, Fiat, Alstom and other European companies making headlines Friday

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

United Kingdom

BRITISH AIRWAYS (BAB) was down £0.16 to £4.50. The company unveiled second quarter op. profit of £134 million, -48.7; pretax profit £176 million, -27%; op. profit before BA Connect impairment was £240 million, -8%.

BSKYB was up £0.08 to £5.58. The company posted first quarter profit £166 million vs. £200 million in first quarter05; revenue £1.071 billion, +11%; basic EPS 6.5p, adj. EPS 6.3p; 74,000 customers connected, with over 20,000 orders every week.

France

PUBLICIS was down €0.54 to €29.40. The company cut its 2006 forecast for sales from ongoing businesses as account activity declined more markedly than expected in the third quarter after the loss of accounts including Cadillac and Beck.

ALSTOM was up €1.10 to €73.65. The company asked a Paris court to review the awarding of a €2.7 billion contract by SNCF to Canada's Bombardier, Bloomberg wrote. The company said this means the contract is suspended.

TRIGANO was down €2.50 to €34.20. Cheuvreux noted that the company warned on its 2005-2006 results guiding on an operating margin of around 8% ie 200bp lower vs. 04'-2005.

Germany

COMMERZBANK was up €1.20 to €29.01. The company posted third quarter net profit of €217 million, a touch above expectations - with quarterly operating profit at €337 million.

ALLIANZ (AZ) was down €1.07 to €143.93. The company's third quarter net income doubled to a better-than-expected €1.6 billion, boosted by some €300 million for the sale of UK group Four Seasons Healthcare.

Italy

SAIPEM was up €0.67 to €19.09. Merrill Lynch upgraded the company to buy from neutral, with a €21.50 target. The broker believes that the company's recent lackluster performance vs. peers reflects market concerns about Snamprogetti's profitability. However, it sees potential for a faster turnaround of SPG than the market expects.

FIAT (FIA) was up €0.30 to €14.40. The company's Italian car sales showed an overall rise of 12% in October, with a market share of 31.27%. In France, the company's sales rose by 22.3%, partly due to the new Punto and Panda models.

Netherlands

VOPAK was up €1.00 to €31.25. The company reported third quarter EBIT of €57.7 million, higher than the expected €55 million, and up 31% year-over-year. This included a higher occupancy rate and improved margins.

WESSANEN was down €0.50 to €9.91. The company reported third quarter EBITAE of €11.4 million, lower than the expected €15 million. Quarterly sales came in at €367.2 million vs. the consensus of 384 million. Net profit was at €5.8 million.

Nordics

NORSKE SKOG was up NOK2.75 to NOK105.00. The company reported third quarter gross operating profit before items of NOK1.32 billion, up from NOK1.08 billion; net operating profit before items was NOK495 million vs. NOK278 million. Still, the net loss after taxes was NOK3.25 billion following extraordinary impairment charges and provisions totaling NOK3.87 billion.

SKANSKA was up SEK2.25 to SEK126.25. Goldman Sachs was disappointed by the third quarter, which prompted it to cut its EBITDA forecasts by 3% each year for the 2006-2008 period. It said this reflects lower volume and margin growth in construction and commercial development.

Spain

ALTADIS was up €0.32 to €38.77. The Comunidad de Madrid has softened Spain's anti-smoking law. Smoking in the capital will be allowed in workplace cafeterias and in private function rooms in bars or restaurants. In addition, Madrid bars and restaurants over 100 m2 will not have to provide separate smoking sections. Meanwhile, market talk suggested that an investment fund could be building a stake in the company.

ACCIONA was up €1.30 to €139.80. The Spanish energy regulator (CNE) is to rule on whether the company can increase its stake in Endesa from the current 10%. Including options held by Santander, the company has 20% of Endesa. ABC writes that the CNE will authorize the company to take its stake to 24.9%.

Switzerland

ADECCO was up CHF3.60 to CHF80.00. The company topped expectations with third quarter net profit of €164 million, up 38% year-over-year, with revenues rising an in-line 11% to €5.3 billion.

Alexander Wisch, Rocio Opazo-Aniotz, Claudia Perotti, Michael Sanderson, Emma Stevenson, Mariella Mongio, Pawan Girglani, Guarav Panchal, Julien Manrique, Isabell Witt, Sara Oscarsson, Ben Marino, John West

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