Markets & Finance

On the Move: Siemens, Air France, Vodafone


Plus: Endesa, Swiss Re, Royal Dutch Shell and other European companies making headlines Thursday

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

United Kingdom

BRITISH LAND was up £0.30 to £17.28. Shares outperformed the market ahead of the company's conversion to REIT status on Jan, 1.

ICI was up £0.05 to £4.50. The Times newspaper said upheaval in the global coatings industry is expected in the new year when Akzo Nobel begins its long-awaited campaign to extend its leadership in paints - with the company the most likely company in its sights.

VODAFONE (VOD) was down £0.01 to £1.42. The FT reported that the company faces a new rival in its drive to win control of Hutchison Essar after a minority shareholder turned the battle for control of the Indian mobile operator into a three-way fight.

BG PLC was down £0.08 to £6.89. The company announced that it has signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement for the purchase of the Lake Road power plant, an 805MW gas and oil fired combined cycle facility located in Dayville, Connecticut, for US$685 million.

France

AIR FRANCE-KLM (AKH) was up €0.27 to €31.96. Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore wrote that Karim Aga Khan may be interested in acquiring a stake in Alitalia, adding that the company and Italy's Meridiana-Eurofly could also be interested in a chunk of the Italian airline being sold off by the Italian govt.

Germany

SIEMENS (SI) was up €0.79 to €74.91. As expected, the company has signed the HERKULES military IT project contract for €7.1 billion following a vote by the Bundestag. The company's SBS unit will be responsible for operating and modernizing the decentralized IT and telco systems at more than 1,500 locations in Germany and manage local and inter-regional data networks and voice networks.

SAP (SAP) was up €0.07 to €40.32. The company expects double-digit growth in the coming years and may raise its dividend payment for 2006, reported Boersen-Zeitung.

Netherlands

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL (RDS) was down €0.17 to €26.73. The newspaper Vedomosti reportedly wrote that the company signed a secret protocol with the Russian government as part of its deal to sell half of its Sakhalin-2 project to Gazprom. The protocol would reportedly allow the company to increase its spending costs to US$15.8 billion from US$12 billion. Meanwhile, US crude futures edged further above US$60 ahead of weekly US oil data at 15:30 GMT.

Italy

SAN PAOLO-IMI was up €0.13 to €17.14. The company and Banca Intesa have stipulated a deed of merger, creating Europe's sixth largest bank. Shares will debut trading on the Italian stock exchange on Jan. 2 reported Reuters.

PIRELLI & C. was up €0.01 to €0.77. The WSJ wrote that the company's chairman, Marco Tronchetti Provera, is considering to sell part of the controlling stake in Telecom Italia (TI).

Switzerland

SWISS RE was down CHF0.30 to CHF104.70. The FT reported that CEO Jacques Aigrain is keeping a cautious tone about the results of his first year at the helm of the company after last year's 41% fall in earnings to CHF1.45 billion after record claims for natural catastrophes.

Spain

ENDESA was down €0.27 to €35.45. E.On (EON) said it will cut its offer for the company to €36.5 billion from an earlier €37 billion, with the reduction reportedly corresponding to the conditions of the offer.

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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